By Mark Corroto
The good news about the end of record stores as brick-and-mortar businesses is that people like you—weirdos and freaks (ok, me too)—cannot be segregated into the jazz section, and Fred Lonberg-Holm‘s music may be available to a wider listening audience. That might be just our dream, but with music coming from his trio Stirrup, internet crawlers and open-ear listeners can get hip to what he’s putting down.
Lonberg-Holm plays his signature cello, plus electronics and electric guitar here with bassist Nick Macri and drummer Charles Rumback. Cuts this is Stirrup’s third release, following A Man Can’t Ride On One (Whistler Records, 2015) and Sewn (482 Music, 2013).
Let’s not call the music jazz. Maybe groove-based psychedelia. Oh, so I’ve got your attention. Since Jerry Garcia is gone and Jimi Hendrix is long gone, Stirrup fills in vacancies for extended grooves and compelling harmonies. Lonberg-Holm’s cello can be many things. On the opener “Sleep” his instrument whistles in an upper register before bowing a heartfelt melody, then takes us into the electrified stratosphere. All this with Macri and Rumback laying down a hypnotic pulse.
Each of these ten compositions beg for a live performance and extended performances. Even the 3:14 piece “You May Think,” a quiet, insistent acoustic piece leaves you begging for a few more choruses. Lonberg-Holm can play with a heart breaking sympathy, but he can also scratch down a chalkboard when needed. “Who We Are” opens with just that, the cello is tearing heavy sheets, but the unruffled pulse of Macri and the tenacious drumming of Rumback centers the sound. When Lonberg-Holm switches to guitar, he sounds like a mixture of Carlos Santana and Sonny Sharrock. All the more reason for jazz haters to join the party and we can make American jazz great again (I approve of this message).