Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord — Harder on the Outside
(Hot Cup Records 181, 2019, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-03-26
Big Five Chord’s ninth recording, Harder on the Outside, celebrates their 15th year as a band, and offers a mighty eight tracks, all purely instrumental explorations of hard-grooved funky jazz driven by the precise bottom end of drummer Dan Monaghan and bassist Moppa Elliott. The woodwind section of Bryan Murray (balto! and tenor sax) and Justin Wood (alto and soprano sax) provide the guide and power melodies and plenty of gritty improvisation throughout ia their solos, while guitarist and primary composer Lundbom connects everything together and provides some blistering solo work throughout (check out “Prednisone” for a hearty example of that). One thing this recording is not short of is pure intensity, and it seems like around every corner one player or another is giving their everything while others carry the groove or comp to fill in the cracks, although saxes do get their rests while Lundbom produces his bracing and explorative solos. Within their operating parameters this group offers a lot of variety across the first seven tracks (the final cut is an alternate take of the second “Basic Bitches”) and in a general sense, even with a heavy moving groove, double bass and a distinctively jazz approach to the drum kit on the bottom end differentiates this from your typical power funk, even though Lundbom is ripping it open on electric. On “Booberonic” the soprano sax solo dueling with the bass offers a particularly interesting spectacle of power and precision. Things get chaotic and crazy at times, like the three-minute “Fussing Blues” where all five cylinders seem to be firing at once for the enture duration, and opener “People Be Talking” where following some dueling sax criss-crossing charts blow out into free-wheeling chaotic solos. It’s a wild ride throughout for the adventurous listener, so fasten your seat belt before the first cut and you’ll be safe!
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more