181

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Other Valentines

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Other Valentines The cello may not be the most common instrument in jazz, but over the years it has had a number of significant proponents, including the late Fred Katz and more recently Erik Friedlander, Vincent Courtois, and Hank Roberts. Add to that list Fred Lonberg-Holm, who, while based in New York for a number of years since emerging on the scene in '90, now resides in Chicago and has recently replaced trombonist Jeb Bishop in saxophonist Ken Vandermark's Vandermark 5. With a résumé that includes work with rock, jazz, and avant-garde bands, it's no surprise that his own discography has been so stylistically diverse.

But when Lonberg-Holm released A Valentine for Fred Katz (Atavistic, '02) it was something of a surprise, and for more than one reason. First, it was a relatively straight-ahead session where Lonberg-Holm demonstrated a lyrical side that, while evident in his other projects, had never been thrust so much to the forefront. Second, it was a trio session—and an odd one at that—with Lonberg-Holm fronting a traditional bass and drums rhythm section. Its followup, Other Valentines, is also a trio session, with bassist Jason Roebke back from A Valentine for Fred Katz and newcomer Frank Rosaly on drums. But this time, Lonberg-Holm demonstrates just how esoteric his musical interests are, interpreting material by Pink Floyd, Wilco (with whom he's recorded), Cat Power, Sagor & Swing, Sun Ra, and Gil Scott-Heron, along with two of his own originals: one by Roebke and, for continuity, a nod to Fred Katz as well.

While some might think, based on the programme, that the Lonberg-Holm Trio is the E.S.T. or the Bad Plus of the cello trio, this is far from the case. While the novelty of a cello trio could degenerate into the realm of shtick, it simply never happens. The trio's ability to expand upon these memorable and recognizable melodies makes for a compelling listen from start to finish. That the sonorities are restricted to the low end of the sonic spectrum is a fact soon forgotten in the trio's soft-edged and smooth-surfaced approach.

Poignant and sometimes melancholic, with a disposition towards introspection that remains delicately-spirited at the same time, Other Valentines has its own voice. And while a specific focus pervades the set, it has plenty of range as well. "Arnold Layne, by Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, moves along with a gentle backbeat from Rosaly, while Cat Power's "Fool has an alt-country ambience. Sun Ra's "East of Uz swings lightly and is less idiosyncratic than one might expect, and Gil Scott-Heron's "Winter in America, another tune with a distinct backbeat, is as dark as the trio gets.

While the format of the Longberg-Holm trio might frighten off some potential listeners, at the end of the day that's their loss. Those prepared to put aside preconceptions may be surprised at how unassuming and deeply emotional a cello/bass/drums trio can be, and how completely captivating Other Valentines truly is.

Track Listing: East of Uz; Fool; Arnold Layne; Amost Mid-Day; Vals Pa Vinegar; Flo; Winter in America; Jesus Etc.; I Got Nothing; To My Buddy, Buddy

Personnel: Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jason Roebke (bass), Frank Rosaly (drums)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Moanin'" CD/LP/Track Review Moanin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Mount Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Mount Meander
by John Sharpe
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!