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Three Beats: BBU talk about working with GLC: “Yeah, he’s a pimp”

Plus: A new EP might finally get Absolutely Not noticed, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm works well with Europe

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Fred Lonberg-Holm - PETER GANNUSHKIN

JAZZ | Peter Margasak

Local label Peira Records just released Discus and Plumbing, a terrific improvised session between Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Swedish percussionist Raymond Strid. The album is the latest in a steady stream of recent recordings Lonberg-Holm has made with Europeans—an outpouring that includes one of the best albums he's ever done, I Know You (482 Music). This gorgeous collection of art songs, with music and lyrics by Lonberg-Holm, was recorded by an otherwise all-Swedish quintet called Seval, whose members include guitarist David Stackenas and singer Sofia Jernberg. A few days after this interview, Lonberg-Holm left for yet another extended visit to Europe.

How much time have you spent playing in Europe in the last year or two? I haven't really added it up, but I've been going several times a year for the last decade. I think last year I was there about three or four months. A number of the projects that make the trips possible are with U.S. musicians, but over the years I have gotten to meet and play with a lot of Europeans. I like to try to play with them there when I'm going to already be there. It also partly comes out of a desire to not spend too much time on planes. So when I have two tours that have a gap in between—if the gap isn't too long—I let folks I like know, and we try to set up something. Some of those gigs don't really pay well, but since I'm already in Europe, it makes more sense than coming home for a week or ten days, suffering jet lag and carbon karma, and going back again.

I'm assuming that you end up over there partly due to getting more respectable fees and opportunities than you do here in the U.S.? Certainly. Like musicians since the beginning of written history, I go where I can work. If I was wealthy I might still do it, but I might be more like [Giacinto] Scelsi or [Henry] Kaiser and stay home or go scuba diving. If it wasn't so complex, I wouldn't mind just living in Europe, but I hate bureaucracy and nothing brings more of that faster than trying to get residency abroad.

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