“…this just hits like an especially robust excursion into the beauty of avant-Chicago...with stretches that roll and even groove; in terms of rhythm (movement) and foundational sturdiness, The Avondale Addition is a substantial ride (that lasts for just over an hour). Everybody plays at a high level, and this  [is] splendid stuff.  
Joseph Neff (The Vinyl District)

“…hypnotic...pretty melodies unfold, roil, and mutate over churning ostinatos and shuffling, shape-shifting beats…extended, lyrical solos hit with the power of psych-rock…and tickle the ear with microtonal glissandos a la Arabic or Indian music..swing patterns, explosive rolls, and skittery flourishes…”

Peter Margasak (The Chicago Reader)

“…sketches, swathes of brittle and brooding melody that turn caustic and crepuscular with the addition of acrid electricity...sawing ribbons of downcast, driving sound...vessel of both controlled and chaotically cathartic noise.”
Bill Meyer (Dusted Magazine)

"The Avondale Addition is my first interaction with Stirrup’s output, and the fourth in their catalog. The core trio of Charles Rumback, Nick Macri and Fred Lonberg-Holm is bolstered by a wonderfully balanced 6 piece ensemble of key players from the Chicago jazz scene. The most familiar all-stars to me are Keefe Jackson and Mars Williams, but man are there great moments from everybody! While there is very engaging solo work shown from all players, it is the way this ensemble is sequenced together and the sections align which is most compelling. Lonberg-Holm is one of my favorite cellists and a world class improviser (veteran collaborator with Brotzmann, Braxton, Vandermark et. al) but doesn’t play a note here, instead functioning as “lightbox operator”, using a tool for conducting/conduction developed elsewhere in his discography and on beautiful display here. Little to no context is given for the lightbox methodology or process, but it certainly explains the optical and kinetic ensemble arrangements on this disc. There are clear heads and written out sections that square up with a familiar vocabulary of experimental “big band” and harmolodic group writing, but the transitions between them feel controlled with a tasteful splash of precision and ease. One can imagine and almost hear visual cues fading in and out, like multiple projectors firing static loops set in motion upon the same surface and producing repetitive and evolving patterns. Bassist Nick Macri carries rock steady ostinatos throughout many of the pieces with a firm pizzicato (not to mention amazing harmonic and textural control of arco style elsewhere!), over which the Lonberg Lightbox drives dynamic solos and combinations from the ensemble, several of whom are switching instruments throughout. One is reminded of the Zorn game pieces, if they incorporated more repetition and slower groove oriented rhythm sections. Players are paired against and on top of each other, heads are brought back at just the right time to accentuate a soloist wailing, and the timbral blend from each of the melody players is chameleon-like. Violist Jen Clare Paulson stands out as a great ensemble glue-machine, able to occupy a full sound range inside of the horn section, and against the other strings. Clearly something new to be found with every listen here, and i expect we’ll be spinning it in the store for awhile!”
– Frank Meadows (Downtown Music Gallery)

Stirrup is Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, tenor guitar), Nick Macri (bass), and Charles Rumback (drums). Formed in Chicago in 2009 to explore their mutual interests in deep grooves, moody harmonies, and extended structures, the genre-defiant trio continue to do so to this day. A true collective, all three write and arrange for the band.


RUNE 473

Stirrup is Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, tenor guitar), Nick Macri (bass), and Charles Rumback (drums). Formed in Chicago in 2009 to explore their mutual interests in deep grooves, moody harmonies, and extended structures, the genre-defiant trio continue to do so to this day. A true collective, all three write and arrange for the band.

The Avondale Addition is an amalgam of two of Fred Lonberg-Holm’s long-running projects: Stirrup and his “Lightbox Orchestra”, a revolving-door project that began over 20 years ago as a way to organize large, ad-hoc improvising ensembles using a light-based cueing system and cue cards. Typically, a Lightbox concert has no pre-composed materials, but for this performance recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago, compositions by members of Stirrup comprised a “book” from which the guest musicians (the “+6”) draw on in addition to freely improvising when called on to do so. 

In effect, Charles and Nick continue to do things they might normally do on a Stirrup gig, but instead of Fred playing cello, he acts as a kind of improvising arranger stationed behind his Lightbox cueing station, with the invited guests taking on the melodic and soloist roles he might normally perform.

Fred Lonberg-Holm is a composer, cellist, and improviser currently based in Kingston, NY. A student of Anthony Braxton, Bunita Marcus, Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros, and Noah Creshevsky, he received a BS in composition from Brooklyn College and an MA in composition from Mills College. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he was active in the downtown New York improvised music scene. Fred moved to Chicago in 1995, where he became active in the Chicago improvised music scene. In addition to developing his own groups—Seval, the Valentine Trio, Pillow, Terminal 4, and In Zenith—he participated in numerous projects including the Peter Brötzmann Tentet, XMarsX (with Mars Williams), ADA Trio (with Peter Brötzmann and Paal Nilssen-Love), and theVandermark 5. Currently, he is a member of Joe McPhee’s Survival Unit III (with Michael Zerang), NRG Ensemble and Witches and Devils (with Mars Williams), Party Knüllers (with Ståle Solberg), Boxhead Ensemble, The Chicago Plan (with Steve Swell and Gebhard Ullmann), eponymous duos with Frode Gjerstad and Simon Camatta, and Ballister (with Paal Nilssen-Love and Dave Rempis) as well as many ‘one off’ projects.  He also leads a number of ensembles, including Stirrup and the Lightbox Orchestra, a non-gestural conduction system that he developed in the mid-90’s for a large, ad-hoc ensemble of approximately 10 musicians. Since moving to Kingston, he has developed and co-curates a monthly improvised music series with bassist Michael Bisio. His extensive discography includes improvised and free jazz recordings as well as new music, pop, rock and noise.

Bassist Nick Macri has been exploring Chicago’s slipstream of creative music for decades from collaborative, creative groups and ad hoc improvised pairings, to notable sideman gigs, and the rare solo excursion. He is a founding member of the collective trio Stirrup with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Charles Rumback and is/was a contributing member to many, varied groups including Ken Vandermark’s Audio One, Momentum 3, and Momentum 5 groups, instrumental explorers Euphone and Heroic Doses, art-pop quartet The Zincs, and the pastoral, psych-folk of The Horse's Ha (with Janet Bean and James Elkington). He has performed and toured as a sideman and recorded sessions with an eclectic list of artists including Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, The Sea and Cake, Daughter of Swords, Nina Nastasia, Azita, James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg, Wanees Zarour, Hector Zazou, and visual artist Bruce Licher of Savage Republic. Additionally, he has improvised in duo or group settings with many musicians. He has performed across Europe, Asia, South America, and North America including concerts at Saalfelden Jazz Festival (Austria), Festival de Musique Actuelle Victoriaville (Canada), Reading Festival and Leeds Festival (U.K.), World Music Festival Chicago, All Tomorrow's Parties (U.K.), the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Logan Center, and the Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago).

Drummer Charles Rumback is a figure of the rich and varied Chicago music scene. Born and raised in Kansas, he moved to Chicago to study at the Chicago College of Performing Arts where he received a degree in Jazz Composition. Having co-led groups such as Leaves and Colorlist, he has recorded and toured regularly with projects such as Azita, the Horse's Ha, L'altra and Via Tania. Having released his first album as a leader on Clean Feed Records in 2009, his current projects include Colorlist, Leaf Bird and Stirrup. Charles' playing deals closely with the jazz tradition, yet he has worked closely with artists from a wide variety of backgrounds such as; Jason Ajemian, Asuna, Caroline Davis, Josh Eustis, John Hughes, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Matt Lux, Bill Mackay, Nick Macri, the Medium Necks, Ron Miles, Jeff Parker, Liz Payne, Jason Stein, John Tate and Greg Ward.

The Avondale Addition press release

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The Avondale Addition

The Avondale Addition press release

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