A couple weeks ago I was surprised to see a couple members of Zongo Junction playing in the current lineup of Hurray For The Riff Raff at Thalia Hall. I talked to Jordan Hyde afterward and mentioned that I had seen his old bandmate Jonah Parzen-Johnson play about a year ago at a bicycle shop here in Chicago. I hadn’t heard anything from Jonah for a while, and now on the heels of that conversation comes word that a new album is on the way.
Some new material got played at that little DIY show at Ancien Cycles, but I can’t remember if “Cabin Pressure,” the first single, was one of them. During his set he talked a lot about the pressures of building on other people’s music. The debt you owe them and the respect that you need to show, while trying to make something that expresses who you are can be overwhelming. The new record, I Try To Remember Where I Come From, deals with that directly.
I wouldn’t say experimental jazz is in my wheelhouse, but I do enjoy listening to Jonah marry the baritone sax with synthesizers to create something new. It sounds closer to something you’d hear from a band like Air, or producers like Nightmares On Wax, than typical sax soloists. If you don’t typically get into that kind of thing, this might be a good entry point.
You can find some tour dates, and an opportunity to pre-order the new record here.