Andy Hopkins, Fred Lonberg-Holm CDs
- Peter Margasak's column features a couple of new discs that may be of
interest to folks around here as the artists in question have worked with
Kelly Hogan, Pinetop Seven and Wilco.
LONBERG-HOLM/ROEBKE/ KOTCHE A Valentine for Fred Katz (Atavistic) Cellist
Fred Lonberg-Holm is best known as a free improviser and abstract composer.
But with this project -- a tribute to the first great jazz cellist that was
initially put together for the 2000 Empty Bottle jazz festival -- he swings
with an ornate lyricism. (Katz was an integral member of the gentle, highly
stylized west-coast quintet led by Chico Hamilton in the 50s and a longtime
collaborator of local word-jazz maestro Ken Nordine.) Lonberg-Holm chose
two rock-oriented players -- Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and bassist Ryan
Hembrey -- to round out the group in its debut performance, but the trio
brought a suitably gentle finesse to the melodic and restrained repertoire.
On the record, a mix of Katz originals and standards affiliated with the
cellist, Jason Roebke (sounding superb) replaces Hembrey.
MR. RUDY DAY "Juzzle" (Randy Diatribe) Rudy Day is the alter ego of
guitarist Andy Hopkins, who since migrating from Atlanta in the late 90s
has made himself indispensable as a sideman to Kelly Hogan and Andrew Bird.
In their bands he creates soft-focus grooves from Curtis Mayfield-inspired
arpeggios, but when he fronts this unabashedly stoopid power trio his
soulful side has to compete with his cock-rock fantasies. His oversize
riffing -- funky in a James Gang sort of way -- struts like a skid row drag
queen, and he interrupts it with hysterical falsetto whoops and sickly
sweet leads that would make Tom Scholz blush. The more introspective stuff
sounds eerily similar to the recent balladry of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Hopkins is a terrific guitarist and there's promise in his writing, but his
inveterate goofiness is wearying.