Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord
Harder On the Outside (Hot Cup)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., March 22, 2019
Origin stories don't get much more convoluted: Big Five Chord saxophonist Bryan Murray reconstructed beats sampled from old BFC records for bandleader Jon Lundbom to compose new music over. Then the Austin-based guitarist re-recorded the songs live in studio with his 15-year-old free-bop quintet, making new music out of the new music made from the old music. Got that? Fortunately, none of it's necessary to grok Harder on the Outside. In "Prednisone," the combination of bassist Moppa Elliott and drummer Dan Monaghan's rubbery grooves, Murray and fellow horn Justin Wood's jazz harmonies, and Lundbom's burning improvisation hits viscerally, zipping past the cerebrum and heading straight for the groin. The manner in which hip-grinding cadence meets outsider extemporization on "Three Plus" and "Booberonic" needs no intellectual evaluation to appreciate, and a free-jazz take on banjoist Frank Littig's "Fussing Blues" bypasses rationality entirely. Forget the schematics and simply enjoy Harder on the Outside as gut music.