Fred Lonberg-Holm

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Terminal 4: Terminal 4 , 6.5/10
Terminal 4: When I'm Falling , 6/10
Pillow: Pillow (1998), 6/10
Pillow: Field On Water (2000), 6.5/10
Pillow: Three Henries (2001), 6.5/10
Dialogs (2005), 6.5/10
Other Valentines (2005), 5/10

After leading a klezmer group in New York and playing with Styrenes and God Is My Co-pilot, cellist and avantgarde composer Fred Lonberg-Holm (1962) moved to Chicago and founded the Light Box Orchestra, a rotating orchestra of jazz musicians (guitarists Kevin Drumm and Ben Vida, violinist Bob Marxh, saxophonist Guillermo Gregorio, keyboardist Jim O'Rourke, and so on), so named because the improvisers are switched on and off by a box of lights, whose career is documented on First Contact (Locust, 2002).

A pupil of Anthony Braxton, Lonberg focused his early recordings on improvised music: Theory of Motion (1990), that includes a duet with Braxton, Solos and Trios (1991), the solo Personal Scratch (february 1996).

Trigger was a surreal trio with Paul Hoskin on contrabass clarinet and Leslie Ross on bassoon, documented on All These Things (june 1992), released only in 2006. Peep was a quartet with saxophonist Michael Attias, trombonist Edward Ratliff and percussionist Rob Cimino inspired by circus orchestras and parade bands that recorded Joy of Being (1997). In Zenith was a trio with bassist/trombonist Jeb Bishop and drummer Michael Zerang that recorded Building A Better Future (1998).

Since then, his recordings include: 35 Grapes (march 1998), a duo with percussionist Michael Zerang for which Fred Lonberg-Holm played cello, mandolin, erhu, melodica, banjo; Site-Specific (Explain, 1999), a collection of dissonant duos with Jim O'Rourke, Kevin Drumm, Charles Kim, John Corbett, Michael Zerang, Jim Baker, Ben Vida, Todd Rittman, Michael Krassner, Jeb Bishop, Helen Mirra, and Adam Sonderberg; Claque (Meniscus, 2000), a trio with trumpeter Alex Dorner and Zerang; Disappeared (Nuscope, 2001), a trio with pianist Sten Sandell and Zerang; as well as albums with Peter Broetzmann's and Ken Vandermark's groups.

At the same time, Fred Lonberg-Holm enjoyed playing with rock bands such as U.S. Maple, Boxhead Ensemble, Flying Luttenbachers.

His interest in popular music translated in Terminal 4. Possibly inspired by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Terminal 4 (Truckstop, 2001) is his attempt at composing rock music for a pseudo-jazz quartet of cello, guitar (Ben Vida), bass (Josh Abrams) and trombone (Jeb Bishop). The delicate chamber arias of Oil Pack and This Was The Frippe Time best illustrate the program. But other, more sophisticated, pieces achieve an intriguing balance of pop ballad's fluidity, classical music's elegance and avantgarde music's cacophony: N Heptane (contrasting a somber trombone motif and atonal guitar crackling), Pending Solitude (a gloomy minimalist pattern); Eat Some More (a Frank Zappa-esque circus fanfare sinking in a lake of dissonances). The instruments alternate at decomposing Slinky, a theme worthy of 1960s tv soundtracks. And A.D., a sort of speedy folk dance, is pulverized by the guitar. The overall mood is melancholy, but redeemed by a surreal wit.

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Dietro i Terminal 4 si cela il piu` noto Fred Lonberg-Holm, polistrumentista (ma eccelle al violoncello) e compositore. Dopo aver suonato a New York in un gruppo kletzmer, in un numero impressionante di rock band (God Is My Co-Pilot, Flying Luttenbachers, US Maple), nel Boxhead Ensemble e dopo aver registrato collaborazioni che spaziano dal jazz all`avanguardia con O`Rourke, Peter Brotzmann, Vandermark e Kevin Drumm (solo per citarne alcuni), si e` calato nei panni del compositore per il progetto Terminal 4.
Seguendo la strada del Modern Jazz Quartet, Terminal 4 (****) e` un tentativo di comporre musica rock per un quartetto pseudo-jazz di violoncello, chitarra (Ben Vida), basso (Josh Abrams) e trombone (Jeb Bishop). Ci sono delicate arie da camera ("Oil Pack", "This Was The Frippe"), ma altri brani, piu` sofisticati, fondono in modo affascinante la fluidita` della ballata pop, l`eleganza della musica classica e la cacofonia dell`avanguardia. E` il caso di "N Heptane" (dove un cupo motivo del trombone contrasta con il crepitio atonale della chitarra), di "Pending Solitude" (un malinconico pattern minimalista) e di "Eat Some More" (una fanfara da circo alla Zappa affondata in un mare di dissonanze).
Il feeling complessivo e` melanconico, ma compensato da uno humour surreale.

Terminal 4's When I'm Falling (Truckstop, 2003) is another essay in subdued, understated beauty. The sublime melodies of When I'm Falling and This Can't Go On are conducted at almost funereal pace by Lonberg-Holm's cello, Bishop's trombone and Vida's guitar, three instruments that behave like the voices of a three-part choir. They sing with and against each other, weaving celestial harmonies that are grounded to simple melodies. This Must Be The End has the aerial, graceful quality of a medieval dance. I Can't Forget is whispered lounge music for late-night improvisers, and Seltraline is pure "slo-core" melodic abstraction.

Lonberg's A Valentine for Fred Katz (december 2001 - Atavistic, 2003) is a tribute to jazz cellist Fred Katz.

Pillow is a quartet with Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, the Flying Luttenbachers' Michael Colligan on reeds, and two members of Town And Country, Liz Payne on bass and Ben Vida on guitar. Pillow (Boxmedia, 1998), Field On Water (Hereforeveralways, 2000) and Three Henries (Hapna, 2001) are sets of improvised jams that hark back to the most abstract moments of the AMM and free-jazz.

The trio with bassists Peter Kowald and Kent Kessler recorded Flats Fixed (september 1998).

the duets of Object 1 (2003) with German trumpeter Alex Dorner,

Eruption (Grob, 2003) is a collaboration with Flying Luttenbachers' drummer Weasel Walter and avant-guitarist and electronic musician Kevin Drumm.

Fred Lonberg-Holm's Dialogs (january 2002 - Emanem, 2005) is actually a series of cello solos, except that the cellist tries a number of different ways to "destroy" the sound of the cello.

The Punctual Trio (Carlos Zingaro on violin and Lou Mallozzi on turntables and electronics) released Grammar (may 2003).

Other Valentines (Atavistic, 2005), credited to the Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio (trumpeter Axel Dorner and percussionist Michael Zerang), fails to create a trio sound.

Terminal Valentine (2007), Lonberg-Holm's third album in a series inspired by the work of cellist Fred Katz, features a new trio (Jason Roebke on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums).

The Brain of the Dog in Section (november 2007) documents live duets with Peter Brötzmann.

Credited to trombonist Sebi Tramontana, Night People (july 2001) featured Terri Kapsalis on violin, John Corbett on guitar, Kent Kessler on bass, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Guillermo Gregorio on clarinet.

Ballister was a trio with Dave Rempis (on alto, tenor and baritone saxes), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello and electronics) and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love that debuted on Bastard String (june 2010).

Seval, a quintet with Swedish vocalist Sofia Jernberg, guitarist David Stakenas, trumpetist Emil Standberg and bassist Patric Thorman, debuted with I Know You (2011) and 2 (482 Music, 2012).

Home (2012) documents an improvised collaboration between Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and  John Russell on acoustic guitar that includes the 28-minute Emsket.

Attic Antics (october 2010) documents a collaboration between Lonberg-Holm and bassist Nick Stephens

Coarse Day (Multikulti Project, 2011) (november 2009) documents a collaboration with clarinetist Piotr Melech.

Collaborations with reedist Frode Gjerstad yielded Sugar Maple (october 2009), also featuring percussionist Michael Zerang, VC/DC (), which also included drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg and vocalist Stine Janvin Motland, and Tistel (2011).

Fred Lonberg-Holm, Peter Brotzmann and Paal Nilssen-Love formed the Ada Trio that debuted with the mini-album Ada (april 2011).

Mechanisms (november 2010), Mi Casa Es En Fuego (april 2012) and Both Ends (february 2012) document live Ballister performances.

Lonberg also performed with the Fast Citizens, that had already released two albums, on their third album Gather (july 2011 - Delmark, 2012) with Aram Shelton (alto sax, clarinet, cornet), Keefe Jackson (tenor sax, bass clarinet, reed trumpet), Josh Berman (cornet), Anton Hatwich (bass, trumpet) and Frank Rosaly (drums, pocket trumpet).

Discus And Plumbing (2012) was a collaboration with Swedish drummer Raymond Strid.

Fred Lonberg-Holm formed Stirrup with Nick Macri (bass) and Charles Rumback (drums) that debuted on Sewn (2013), followed by A Man Can't Ride On One (Whistler Records, 2015) and Cut (Clean Feed, 2016).

The ADA Trio (saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love) recorded ADA Steve Noble OTO (february 2012) and ADA Pat Thomas OTO (2013).

The Cliff Of Time (august 2013) features Akira Sakata on alto sax & B-flat clarinet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello & electronics, Ketil Gutvik on electric guitar and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums & percussion.

Life On Sandpaper (august 2012) was a collaboration with reedist Frode Gjerstad.

Ballister's Worse For The Wear (march 2014) contains three extended pieces, notably the 21-minute Fornax.

Resistance (recorded live in 2013) documents a live collaboration between Ken Vandermark on reeds and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics.

Lonberg-Holm played on the electroacustic Resounder (june 2014) with Aram Shelton on alto sax and Frank Rosaly on percussion.

Distant Groove (recorded in 2013) was a quartet with Louis Moholo-Moholo (drums), Frode Gjerstad (alto sax and clarinets) and Nick Stephens (bass).

Two live concerts by the Ballister trio are documented on Slag (march 2015), including the 23-minute Fauchard, and Low Level Stink (march 2015).

Relephant (may 2013) documents improvisations with drummer Adam Golebiewski.

Ouroboros (november 2007) and The Brain Of The Dog In Section (january 2011), containing four lenghty cerebral pieces, were collaborations between Peter Brotzmann (reeds) and Fred Lonberg Holm (strings, electronics).

Bow Hard At The Frog (february 2016) documents a collaboration with Gustavo Matamoros on field recordings.

Michael Bisio (double bass), Kirk Knuffke (cornet) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) recorded in october 2018 Requiem For A New York Slice (Iluso, 2019), an album featuring five pieces collectively improvised, notably the 18-minute Pie Jesu.

The trio of Frode Gjerstad (alto saxophone; clarinet), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Matthew Shipp (piano) recorded Season Of Sadness (september 2018).

Animation (august 2017) introduced the Fulcrum Ensemble, a project created by drummer Tim Daisy (also on marimba and turntables) along with James Falzone on clarinet, Dave Rempis on alto & baritone saxes, Josh Berman on cornet, Steve Swell on trombone and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello & electronics. Daisy had already recorded the four-part 34-minute The Halfway There Suite (july 2016) with the same lineup credited as the Daisy's Celebration sextet.

No Time Left For Sadness (january 2019) reunited cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and tenor saxophonist Joe McPhee, mainly for the 31-minute Next Time.

Memories Of A Tunicate (june 2019) documents duets with Peter Broetzmann (tenor sax, woodwinds, clarinet).

Frode Gjerstad (alto sax, eb clarinet), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, electronics), Steve Swell (trombone) and William Parker (bass, tuba, cornet, flutes) recorded Tales From (september 2019).

Lisbon Solo (march 2019) is a solo album for cello and "unprepared piano".

The Art Spirit (september 2018) features Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello & electronics), Michael Bisio (bass) and Kirk Knuffke (cornet & soprano cornet), and was mostly composed by Bisio.

Transition Zone (may 2018) documents a trio with Carlos Santos on computer and synthesizer and Abdul Moimame (electric guitars).

The double-disc Seven Skies Orchestra (november 2022) gathered an all-star sextet: saxophonist Ivo Perelman, trumpeter Nate Wooley, viola player Mat Maneri, bassist Joe Morris Fred Lonberg-Holm, and vibraphonist Matt Moran.

J@K@L, a project formed in 2014 as a trio with drummer Julian Kirshner and reedist Keefe Jackson, debuted with the suite If Honor And Wisdom And Happiness Are Not For Me, Let Them Be For Others (december 2014), on which he also played electronics. They added altoist Michael Attias on Static Adieu (march 2016), which contains the 30-minute Oblivion And Forgetting Always Win In The End. After After A Few Days (april 2017), which contains two pieces (notably the 26-minute In A Silt Of Atoms), the trio was renamed Jakal for Peroration (april 2022), containing the 38-minute Peroration.

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