I don’t generally review jazz because I feel my knowledge in that area is somewhat limited (I’m working on that). I also don’t generally review things I have to download and burn to a CD (too curmudgeonly to listen on computer too). But as a native Chicagoan and a long time fan of Fred Lonberg-Holm I couldn’t really say “no”.
1980 Records is the only label I know that does cassette releases (remember those?) and I don’t even have a cassette player right now so I guess I’m glad for the download. From a brief perusal of their web site I am going to recommend it to anyone interested in free jazz and Chicago-based musicians. Each release ranges in price from $5 to $7 for single cassettes or downloads and $14 for double albums. This is ultimately interesting and very collectible material. Chicago commands a distinctive voice in new music across genres and this is album demonstrates that.
The other (and more serious) reason I agreed to review this album in this blog is that I was hooked and drawn in from the first listen. The first track (corresponding to the first side of the cassette) is about 30 minutes in length and is a blistering, energetic essay in creative music making within that nebulous genre known as free jazz. It is titled, “Oblivion and Forgetting Always Win in the End” and it is worth the price of admission.
New York (Washington Heights) based sax player Michael Attias joins J@K@L for three pieces on side two (Static Adieu, Acuities and Tad). This is a different energy from side one with pithier statements but the music is mesmerizing and left me wanting more.
The cassette release party is scheduled for September 11, 2016 at The Owl at 2521 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the windy city. I am not familiar with the venue or the neighborhood as I haven’t been back to Chicago for many years but this looks like a pretty cool place and I think this is one of the more recent “hip” areas.
If any of my readers manage to attend I would love to hear from them. One of the things I miss most about Chicago is the excellent music scene. Kudos, guys!