Tag Archives: Lucky 7’s

Paris Transatlantic review by Steve Griffith

Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
One of the more inspiring, albeit lesser known, stories related to Hurricane Katrina is the formation of the Lucky 7s. The storm’s devastation broke up trombonist Jeff Albert’s quartet, as drummer Quin Kirchner relocated to Chicago (along with his frequent musical associate, bassist Matthew Golombisky). Although Jeff stood his water-soaked ground, gigs were still nonexistent in the ravaged city, so he contacted fellow trombonist Jeb Bishop about pulling together some kindred souls from Chicago along with Quin and Matt, resulting in rehearsals and subsequent performances at The Empty Bottle and The Hungry Brain. The final night at the latter venue made up six of the seven songs on Farragut, a rollicking disc that entertained the fortunate few that were able to find it on Lakefront Digital. For those afraid the 2006 disc was just a one-off release, Pluto Junkyard marks a considerable step forward, with more tightly arranged compositions and release on a higher exposure label.

The presence of Jason Adasiewicz’s shimmery vibes and the hot tenor of Keefe Jackson gives the Lucky 7s the air of a Blue Note offering from back in the days when they were pairing fire-breathing saxophonists with Bobby Hutcherson. There’s no diminution of energy from the first release: “Future Dog” transitions from one funk riff to another, and the sonic meltdown of “The Dan Hang” marks the welcome reappearance of Bishop’s skronky guitar (and if this is truly representative of what is played at The Hungry Brain after-hours, please get some sound people there immediately). The most noticeable difference is that this release has no overtly N’Awlins-influenced music, in the manner of the second-line-ish drumming on the closing “Bucktown Special” on Farragut (the one exception, Bishop’s “Afterwards”, was actually written for the previous recording); in fact, the closing “Sunny’s Bounce” is a clear nod to the Chicago sound, written by Albert after hearing a Sun Ra Delmark recording on an iTunes shuffle (hmmmm, on a release titled Pluto…).

But the real muse of this release seems to be Bishop’s wife, Jaki Cellini: her reaction to Jeb’s promise to get her a pet provided the title of Albert’s “Future Dog,” and Bishop’s cool bopping “Jaki’s Walk” was actually their wedding’s recessional music. Here’s to the bright future of the couple as well as the Lucky 7s.

Cadence Magazine review by Grego Applegate Edwards

Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
The writing, the arranging, the playing and the concept of Lucky 7s must be termed brilliant. It has it all and it executes it with spirit, even joy. This is a band that should get plenty of attention.

They deserve it. Perhaps this release will go some way in providing it. Yet Bishop and Albert do not work together right now with a lot of regularity. Both are doing very good things in their own way, Albert with his own group and as a curator-performer with the Open Ears concert series in New Orleans, Bishop in Chicago and around the world with various groupings. Yet Lucky 7s is something very special, even given what they do on their own. The combination of players and material strikes lightning, if that is a phrase that works. They combine their talents in a really terrific lineup of players and–ZAP!

Both the writing and the instrumentation bring to mind the Hutcherson, McLean, Moncur, Dolphy Blue Note classics of the mid‘60s. And the all-over passage writing of George Russell also comes to mind. Neither of these influences are anything but starting points to a wholly original venture into midsized group improv. What’s impressive is the constant musical inspiration. Written parts enter, exit, enter underneath solos and so forth. There’s always something of musical interest happening and nothing sounds the least bit rote. Strong solos from all the horns and the vibes occur throughout, and Adasiewicz’s interaction with the impressive Gombisky-Kirchner rhythm section is really something to hear. I could rehearse the blow-by-blow description of each piece and what happens, but it’s just all good. I’ll leave it to your ears. We need more of this. We need people going to see this band and buying this CD. All I can do is write this review. The rest is up to others. I seriously recommend this CD to you, however. It has everything going for it that modern Jazz could offer you. Get the blanking thing and play it. I don’t imagine you’d be disappointed. I can’t see how you would be.
www.cadencebuilding.com ©Cadence Magazine 2010

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

LUCKY 7S – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
Please welcome a truly brilliant septet which features – somewhat bizarrely – two lead trombonists (Jeb Bishop and Jeff Albert) and performs conspicuously intricate, ear-rewarding compositions, intelligibly articulated in invigorating swiftness, the cleverness of the arrangements at a persistently remarkable level. The rest of the lineup consists of Josh Berman (cornet), Keefe Jackson (tenor sax), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Matthew Golombisky (bass) and Quin Kirchner (drums).

This is easily one of the finest albums to come out of Pedro Costa’s imprint in the last year or so; persuasive compositions, nearly palpable structural mass, the instrumental delineation neat as a new pin. A refined complexity is deployed with judiciousness, never intended as a means to leave people impressed with pathetic flurries of bells and whistles. Illegitimacy and fury get channelled in energizing flows brimming with authority and, in a way, pressure. There’s something in these kids – look at those great faces inside the sleeve – which makes me think to each one’s different upbringing, to the juvenile (and probably ongoing) enthusiasm that was felt while practicing at home, dreaming of living a musician’s life in search of the purest mental freedom. You know what? Judging from Pluto Junkyard they succeeded, reinforcing the assumption according to which a mixture of precise directives and good-natured anarchy is the best weapon against cerebral stagnancy. Oh, and the rocking blowout “The Dan Hang” must be heard to believe: heavy riffage, muscular drumming and fuming squealing by an armada of clairvoyant pilgrims.

Had this writer been a po-faced Downbeat contributor, he’d have given this 70-minute CD four stars and a half. Being myself instead just a non-corporative nihilist bear amused by ordinary people’s illusions, who also happens to instantly recognize if an artist – and, in general, a person – is worth of a shufti, trust my words: Lucky 7s kick ass. Even if when they swing.

All About Jazz Italy “Best of 2009” List – Month by month

Steven Bernstein – Diaspora Suite (Tzadik)
Tino Tracanna – Giovanni Falzone – Paolino Dalla Porta – Vittorio Marinoni – Stylus Q (Abeat Records)
Ornette Coleman – Town Hall 1962 (ESP Disk) 
Paul Bley – Closer (ESP Disk)
Wayne Horvitz – Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voice, and Soloist (New World Records)
Gianluigi Trovesi – All’Opera – Profumo di Violetta (ECM Records) 
William Parker Quartet – Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity Records)
Houdini’s Cage – Memories of a Barber (El Gallo Rojo) 

Michael Bates – Clockwise (Greenleaf Music)
The Microscopic Septet – Lobster Leaps In (Cuneiform Records)
Enrico Rava – New York Days (ECM Records) 
Atomic School Days – Distil (Okka Disk)
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – This Is Our Moosic (Hot Cup Records)
Blue Notes – The Ogun Collection (Ogun) 
Bik Bent Braam – Extremen (BBB)
Mary Halvorson Trio – Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) 

Avishai Cohen – Flood (Part Two of the Big Rain Trilogy) (Anzic Records)
Darrell Katz & Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra –  The Same Thing (Cadence Jazz Records)
Fight the Big Bull – Dying Will Be Easy (Clean Feed Records) 
Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information 3 (Strut/!K7)
Dinamitri Jazz Folklore + Amiri Baraka – Akendengue Suite (Rai Trade)
Jon Irabagon – Jon Irabagon’s Outright! (Innova Recordings) 
Chat Noir – Difficult to See You (EmArcy)
Zentralquartett – Au der Elbe Schwimmt ein rosa krokodil (Intakt Records)
Jim Hall – Bill Frisell – Hemispheres (ArtistShare) 
Anthony Braxton – Standards (Brussels) 2006 (Amirani Records)  

Shakers N’ Bakers – Yearning for Zion (Little (i) Music)
Steve Lehman – Manifold (Clean Feed Records)
Dave Stapleton – Matthew Bourne – Dismantling the Waterfall – The Mill Session, Vol.1 (Edition Records) 
Aa.Vv. – Nigeria 70 – The Definitive Story of 1970’s Funky Lagos (Strut/!K7)
Satoko Fujii – Heat Wave (Not Two)
Morton Feldman –  The Viola in My Life (ECM Records)

Soft Machine – Drop (Moonjune Records)
Michael Jefry Stevens Trio – For Andrew (Konnex Records)
Daniele Cavallanti – Tiziano Tononi – Rings of Fire (Long Song Records) 
Fred Frith and Arte Quartett – Still Urban / The Big Picture (Intakt Records)
Denman Maroney – Udentity (Clean Feed Records)
Fast ‘N’ Bulbous – Waxed Oop (Cuneiform Records) 
Henry Grimes – Solo (Ilk Music)
Ran Blake – Driftwoods (Tompkins Square Records) 

Amato Jazz Trio – Time Pieces for Piano (Abeat Records)
Clusone 3 – Soft Lights and Sweet Music (Hatology)
Nicole Mitchell Indigo Trio – Anaya (Rogue Art) 
Ingrid Laubrock – Sleepthief (Intakt Records)
Alex Cline – Continuation (Cryptogramophone)
Positive Catastrophe – Garabatos Volume One (Cuneiform Records) 
Louis Sclavis – Lost on the Way (ECM Records)
Chico Hamilton – Twelve Tones of Love (Joyous Shout!)
Thomas Mapfumo – Hokoyo! / Gwindingwi Rine Shumba (Water) 
Jeremy Udden – Plainville (Fresh Sound New Talent)

The Skopje Connection – Amam (Enrico Blumer Production)
Nate Wooley – Fred Lonberg-Holm – Jason Roebke – Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing (Porter Records)
Sophie Agnel – Capsizing Moments (Emanem) 
Franz Koglmann – Lo-lee-taa – Music on Nabokov (Col Legno)
Gebhard Ullmann – Don’t Touch My Music voll. 1 & 2 (Not Two)
Gabriele Cohen Jewish Experience – Golem (Alfamusic)
John Taylor – Phases (Cam Jazz)
Charlie Parker – Bird in Time 1940-1947 (ESP Disk) 

Nels Cline – Coward (Cryptogramophone)
Nadia Ratsimandresy – Matteo Ramon Arevalos – Messiaen et autour de Messiaen (ReR Megacorp)
David S. Ware – Shakti (AUM Fidelity Records) 
Seamus Blake Quartet – Live In Italy (Jazz Eyes)
Sound for the Organization of Society – Poem of the Underground (Circumvention Music)
Nostalgia 77 – Feat. Keith & Julie Tippett – The Nostalgia Sessions Vol.1 (Tru Thoughts) 
Jon Hassell – Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (ECM Records)
Giancarlo Mazzù – Luciano Troja – Seven Tales About Standards – Vol. 2 (Splasc(h) Records)
Luc Ferrari – L’oeuvre électronique (Ina GRM) 
Greg Wall’s Later Prophets – Ha’ Orot (Tzadik)  

Junk Box – Cloudy Then Sunny (Libra Records)
White Rocket – White Rocket (Diatribe Recordings)
John Hebert – Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records) 
Tom Harrell – Prana Dance (HighNote Records)
Luca Aquino – Lunaria (EmArcy)
Trio 3 + Irene Schweizer – Berne Concert (Intakt Records) 
Sean Jones – The Search Within (Mack Avenue Records)
Rob Mazurek – Sound Is (Delmark Records) 

Dennis Gonzalez and Faruq Z. Bey w/Northwood Improvisers Septet – Hymn for Tomasz Stanko (Qbico Records)
Matt Wilson Quartet – That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (Palmetto Records)
Jerry Granelli V16 – Vancouver ’08 (Songlines Recordings) 
Steve Lacy – Mal Waldron – Let’s Call This… Esteem (SILTA Records)
Frank London – Lorin Sklamberg – Tsuker-zis (Tzadik)
Steven Bernstein – Marcus Rojas – Kresten Osgood –  Tattoos and Mushrooms (Ilk Music) 
Marcin & Bartlomeij Brat Oles – Duo (Fenommedia)
Herculaneum – Herculaneum III (Clean Feed Records) 

Laurence Hobgood – When the Heart Dances (NAIM Audio)
Vijay Iyer Trio – Historicity (ACT Music)
Satoko Fujii – Myra Melford – Under the Water (Libra Records) 
Gianluca Petrella Cosmic Band – Coming Tomorrow – Part One (Spacebone Records)
Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet – Things Have Got to Change (Clean Feed Records)
Digital Primitives – Hum Crackle & Pop (Hopscotch) 
Chad Taylor – Circle Down (482 Music)
Fred Anderson – Staying in the Game (Engine)
Miles Davis – The Complete Columbia Album Collection (Sony-Legacy Music) 
Roberto Cecchetto – Memories (Parco della Musica Records)  

Egberto Gismonti – Saudações (ECM Records)
Lee Konitz – Martial Solal – Star Eyes (Hat Hut Records)
Jon Irabagon with Mike Pride – I Don’t Hear Nothin’ But the Blues (Loyal Label) 
Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (Clean Feed Records)
Wadada Leo Smith – Spiritual Dimensions (Cuneiform Records)
Lawrence Casserley – Adam Linson – Integument (Psi Records)
Franco D’Andrea Quartet – Half the Fun (El Gallo Rojo) 
Miles Davis – Sonny Rollins – The Classic Prestige Sessions – 1951-1956  (Prestige Records)

Jazz’n’More review by Jürg Solothurnmann

CF 141LUCKY 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)

Ein Blech-dominiertes Bläserquartett und eine Rhythmusgruppe mit Vibraphon im Vordergrund. Für dieses eklektische Septett der neuen Chicagoer Generation haben besonders die Ko-Leader Bishop und Albert (aus New Orleans) und der Schlagzeuger Kirchner aufwendige Stücke mit allerlei Elementen von Postbop, New Jazz und Free Jazz komponiert. Da hat es Mehrthematik und arrangierte Backgrounds und Zwischenspiele, manchmal mehr mit dem Gusto einer satt klingenden Brass Band und manchmal wie moderne Kammermusik. Sie dienen als Schaltstellen und verhindern, dass sich einfach Solo an Solo reiht. Neu ist weniger der Stil als der vielfältige Einsatz der Mittel. Die Gangart und Stimmung ändern oft –mit verschmitztem Humor oder auch etwas zusammenhangslos, und improvisiert wird ebenso unbegleitet wie in Gruppierungen zu zweit, zu dritt und mehr. Zwei Posaunisten als Leader, das ist auch nicht so üblich, aber sie wissen etwas damit anzufangen. Doch irgendwie scheint die gerissene Mache dieser Divertimenti auch zu verhindern, dass die guten Ensemblespieler und Solisten mal richtig loslegen.

Le Son du Grisli review by Pierre Lemarchand

CF 141Lucky 7’s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
De la rencontre entre des musiciens de Chicago et de la Nouvelle Orléans résulte la musique jouée par le groupe Lucky 7s. Les chicagoans (Josh Berman au cornet, Keefe Jackson au sax ténor, Jeb Bishop au trombone) empruntent les sentiers défrichés par le saxophoniste Ken Vandermark quand les orléanais (Jeff Albert au trombone, Quin Kirchner à la batterie, Matthew Golombisky à la contrebasse) prolongent l’art du batteur Ed Blackwell.

Les mélodies sont ici amplement développées, tout en sinuosité et sophistication, et les compositions, empruntes d’une certaine abstraction, se détournent des schémas classiques (thème – improvisation – thème) pour proposer des suites de mouvements distincts, aux ambiances changeantes (Afterwards). Et les changements sont tels que l’on peut vite se retrouver sur les terres du rock indépendant (The Dan Hang). Mais cette approche contemporaine et toute chicagoane se mêle joyeusement au swing pulsé par la rythmique de nos orléanais, encore ébouriffés par le vent mauvais de Katrina.

La conciliation de ces deux univers semble être incarnée par le vibraphone de Jason Adasiewicz (remarquable comme toujours), dont les notes assurent tantôt l’harmonie et le rythme, tantôt les échappées belles en des terrains plus incertains. On pourrait dire que la musique des Lucky 7s est cinématographique, dans le sens où elle développe d’amples mouvements, comme l’on cadre de grands espaces, et resserre parfois sa focale pour faire surgir des personnalités en des soli effrénés, perturbant l’apparent calme offert par des musiciens quelques secondes auparavant à l’unisson. Mais, au final, le collectif prime finalement sur les individus (ici, la notion de leader est rejetée) et la joie de jouer ensemble déborde du début à la fin de ce disque.

eJazznews review by Glenn Astarita

CF 141Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
This upbeat and nicely in-your-face and ears Chicago-based septet projects a thoroughly happening vibe. They flush out all the non-essentials, and get to matters rather expeditiously amid a buoyant group-centric mode of operations. Members of this band are frequent collaborators with cutting-edge Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark, as the ensemble conveys that hip and pulsating progressive-jazz aura amid treks into the free-zone.

With perky horns, crisp swing vamps and investigative group dialogues, the band abides by a get-up-and-go demeanor. They vary the flows amid an abundance of contrasts and textural maneuvers. At times, the hornists’ transmit notions of a little big band at work as the musicians’ scrappy interplay is prominently generated via muscular phrasings and spunky jazz-rock passages.

They integrate regimented, classical type charts with lyrically resplendent choruses and wily metrics. Vibist Jason Adasiewicz is a colorist and strong soloist who shades and complements the multifarious rhythmic components. Along with a few discordant meltdowns, the band renders brash choruses and a driving impetus, evidenced on the punishing piece titled “The Dan Hang.” Here, tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson goes for the proverbial jugular as the rhythm section kicks it into high-gear. Among other positive attributes, it’s one of the most exciting progressive-jazz outings I’ve heard all year.