On a good week you can catch Fred Lonberg-Holm playing a different kind of music, in a different club, nearly every night. The cellist makes daring stylistic leaps--between Peter Brotzmann's paint-peeling free jazz and Manishevitz's quirky indie pop, between Pillow's hushed textural improv and Guillermo Gregorio's unpredictable chamber music--as casually as most people walk to their mailboxes. It's easy to take him for granted, since if you skip one gig there's always another coming up--but the trio he's bringing to the Bottle this month is not to be missed. With bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly, it's a successor to the group Lonberg-Holm convened in 2001 to record A Valentine for Fred Katz (Atavistic), his tribute to the cellist who gave Chico Hamilton's quintet its distinctive sound in the late 50s (Rosaly replaces Glenn Kotche). These fellows are bound and determined to swing, and despite their odd repertoire they pull it off consistently: though they often use jazz tunes like Sun Ra's "East of Uz" or Fred's own "Mystery Kat" to launch their deft and audacious improvisations, they're as likely to start with Cat Power's "Fool" or Pink Floyd's "Arnold Layne." In the wrong hands, this sort of thing can be grotesque (e.g., the Bad Plus), but Lonberg-Holm can redeem even a puddle of sap like the Association's "Never My Love," transforming it into a bracing exploration of dissonant harmonies. For the rest of June the group will occupy the Bottle's Tuesday-night slot. This week they'll play as a trio, but for the other three they'll be joined by guests: New York drummer Aaron Seigel on June 15, Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos on June 22, and local pedal steel guitarist Steve Dorocke on June 29. $3. Tuesdays, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Angie Evans.