When guitarist Jon Lundbom recalls what has fired his imagination, he frequently talks about music that “blew my mind.” Three specific examples have inspired the writing for his band Big Five Chord. The first is Focus, the 1962 Stan Getz album that put the tenor saxophonist’s improvisations in the midst of Eddie Sauter’s written works for orchestra. The second is Ornette Coleman, whose disregard for chord changes liberated Lundbom. Third is Voodoo, the 2000 neo-soul album by D’Angelo that featured jazz musicians such as Roy Hargrove and toyed with beat placement and polyrhythms. On Lundbom’s ninth album with BFC, Harder on the Outside (Hot Cup), all these influences blend together in satisfying ways; engaging melodies and free-jazz interplay combine, without losing a sense of groove.
“A lot of people have written that my playing in Big Five Chord is free bop, which it can be at times,” Lundbom says. “I think that’s the Ornette Coleman influence. It’s going to be jazz but we’re going to do something other than just follow chord changes.”