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Fred Lonberg-Holm/Ken Vandermark: Resistance

Mark Corroto By

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When you consider all the musicians that have recorded duos with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, it sounds kind of like the SPAM Monty Python sketch comedy piece. "Yes, I'll have some Fred Lonberg-Holm and Ken Vandermark." What, you don't want Fred Lonberg-Holm and Axel Dörner, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Mats Gustafsson, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Peter Brotzmann, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Paal Nilssen-Love, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Frode Gjerstad or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Nick Stephans, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and David Stackenäs, or Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang? SPAM, Fred, SPAM, Fred, SPAM, Fred, Fred Fred.

Lonberg-Holm is in such demand because he is both a resourceful accompanist and a versatile musician. He was the most natural replacement for Jeb Bishop in the Vandermark 5, recording with the quintet until it dissolved a few years ago. He has been a key ally to saxophonist Ken Vandermark in his various Territory Bands, The Frame Quartet, Pipeline, the Topology Nonet, and the Vandermark organized Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet.

As a duo, they are the definition of simpatico.

Resistance recorded live in 2013 is an expected performance of unforeseen music. That said, it boosts Vandermark's stock (not that he needs it) as a soloist. He has, of late, stepped out of his role as composer, arranger, and organizer of ensembles to perform solo and in improvising duos with Nate Wooley, Agustí Fernandez, Mats Gustafsson, and Tim Daisy. Freed from all the duties associated with large ensembles, he can focus on improvising.

Here his saxophone and various clarinets weave, bounce, and at times, collide with Lonberg-Holm's cello and electronics. "J = óE" pairs a drunken tenor saxophone with a skidding sawed cello that builds into a locomotive engine of sound. The pair develop a thunderhead of animation, saxophone pushing against the thrum of electric energy. "P = 12R" searches for poetry in the small bites of circulating thought. Lonberg-Holm's cello can muster Jimi Hendrix notes or play the tip-toeing soundtrack to a Warner Brothers' cartoon. He scrapes (literally) notes from the wood of his instrument on "I = V/R" while Vandermark's clarinet explores the quiet corners of their meeting. The music here, all improvised, fills a gap in both their discographies, and it was a long time coming.

Track Listing: Z = sl; E = pj; I = V/R; j = óE; P = I2r.

Personnel: Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, electronics; Ken Vandermark: reeds.

Title: Resistance | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Bocian Records

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