If I don’t take bad reviews too seriously, then I shouldn’t get TOO excited about really good reviews, but I like this Jazzman review of Pluto Junkyard.
Born in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resulting migration of some New Orleans musicians to Chicago, Lucky 7s is a collaboration between mainstays of the Chicago creative scene (including trombonist Jeb Bishop, cornetist Josh Berman, and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, all of whom are active in the scene around Ken Vandermark and Rob Mazurek) and trombonist Jeff Albert, together with his New Orleans rhythm section of bassist Matthew Golombisky and drummer Quin Kirchner.
The music starts off in somewhat familiar territory: sinuous melodies dressed up in virtuosic arrangements, with particular emphasis on expressionistic brass outbursts, while a dreamlike vibraphone, supported by a fluid, constantly swinging rhythm section, opens new harmonic perspectives. But the record — whose dramatic progression is masterfully conceived — quickly frees itself from a certain distanced postmodernism that has become common today, in favor of honest, unpretentious jazz playing.
Recapitulating, in a very personal way, not just the entire history of modern jazz (from free jazz to the “loft generation”) but also the various readings of that history that musicians like Tim Berne and Ken Vandermark have contributed over the last twenty years, Lucky 7s create kaleidoscopic, brilliant music that is both sophisticated in its constant formal transformations and immediately accessible, due to its emotional commitment and the exemplary technical ability of each of the players. Brimming with intelligence, life, and emotion throughout, this recording is a deep breath of fresh air.