JOHN DOES LITTLE WORK, BUT TAKES FULL CREDIT FOR NEW WEBSITE!

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 Just a short note, because I know you are busy buying things….

I’m very happy to say: “Welcome to my new website!”

I worked really hard on this…~cough, cough~…ahem, etc…actually…Kate Schroeder – my illustrious female compadre; Damjan Krajacic – Grand Poobah of activecolor.com (he is also a wonderful flutist & you should check out the hot drummer on his new album!); Alex Vida – programmer and expert in patience; and “smart” designer Dean Roksandic (“Bembelembe”) all worked really hard on this.  You know when you see one to two guys digging a hole, and one to three guys “supervising” – I was not even the “supervising” guy. I’m the guy on his phone 10 feet away, every once in a while yelling “can you do that faster?” and “even though I told you to dig the hole there, I don’t like it there, so can you fill that in and dig that hole 1 foot to the left?”

Nevertheless, it was a lot of work for someone! So I hope you “dig” it! “We” are especially proud of the WORKS area where “you” can “buy” “scores” and “scores/parts”…sorry I had a quote jones there for a minute, but I’m “over it”. Each page of the website has an image featuring the amazing cover artwork that karlssonwilker has done for my recordings since the very beginning. They have a great new website too, check it out! Lukas Beck & Signe Maehler are the wonderful photographers who provided the site images of yours truly.

And last but the opposite of least, I would like to thank the peeps of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, who made it financially possible to take the time and money to build a great website.

While you take a moment to put down your shopping bags and rest your weary legs for a well deserved break, let me entertain you with a little recap of my last two weeks:

First, I was lucky enough this first week of December to be part of On Behalf of Nature with the Meredith Monk Ensemble. Here are some pics and reviews. MM is so special! Stay tuned for concerts in the spring at Zankel Hall to celebrate her 50 years as a creator of indescribable work!

Then last week, I was in Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin with Spielvereinigung Sued, a super big band from Leipzig who played my charts with enthusiasm, soul! Plus, they are all snappy dressers! (I did my best to keep up, can you find me in my new vest?)

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We played one of those special concerts where the stars aligned and everyone at the concert felt something magical. Sounds trite in print, but it was not.

I’m just starting to mix another recording with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band featuring Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry and Uri Caine. This one is called Songs We Like A Lot. The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will celebrate this record at Roulette in Brooklyn on June 10th and once again at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 31st, 2015!

Also coming up in 2015, The Claudia Quintet will record our first live CD at Cornelia Street Cafe, May 6-8. Be there or don’t listen to good music and eat good food at the same time. The last sentence may only make sense to me. (It makes sense to me honey! love, kate)

Happy Shopping!

Always yours,

Johnnycakes

Kenny Wheeler, Rick Piltz and CQ news

Kenny Wheeler Memorial

I was very honoured to be a part of the Kenny Wheeler Memorial Concert at St. James Church in London on October 31st. I first met Kenny in 1989 and recorded with him several times throughout the years. His music has been a guiding force in my life and playing with him, one of the highlights. Two years ago, Kenny was honored at the FONT Trumpet Festival in New York City and my large ensemble had the wonderful opportunity to play his newest music with him. It was an experience that everyone in the band will cherish forever.

As I walked into the church for the soundcheck/rehearsal for the memorial I heard Kenny’s own big band play the opening to Sweet Time Suite,  an iconic opening that I know has deeply influenced many musicians from that first moment they heard it. John Taylor as well as Norma Winstone performed Kenny’s smaller group music and in between the music Stan Sulzmann, Evan Parker, Dave Horler and John Taylor talked briefly and poignantly about the impact Kenny had on their lives. They all included some funny Kenny impressions of course! The service ended on a very powerful note, with the playing of Kenny’s solo trumpet piece from Around Six. After hearing all of these great musicians play his music and talk about him, it was that much more moving to hear Kenny at his best – I, like many others, have heard that piece before, but at this particular moment the utter emotional power and outright originality brought everyone to tears. The memorial was organised by Kenny’s right hand man, Nick Smart, who is already starting to work on a biography of one of the most original voices music has ever had.

Here is a short clip I made with my phone of the rehearsal of the opening of Sweet Time Suite:

Rick Piltz

Our planet lost an influential and courageous advocate when Rick Piltz passed away on October 18th.
He is known as the “climate whistleblower” for quitting his job with the White House and making it public how officials were trying to adjust/change and delete words of climate scientists. Since that time, he created the Climate Science Watch website, which is one of those rare online havens for the truth and facts, in this case about the climate debate.

I was lucky enough to met Rick a few years back at the Blue Mountain Center and was very surprised to learn that he was a big music fan and very knowledgeable about all kinds of music. He could just talk on and on about different concerts that he had gone to throughout his years, especially during the time he lived in Austin, TX.  I’m sure that his work was intense and probably very frustrating, so it was nice to see him so absorbed, talking about music with such passion. It was a great honor to have him in the audience at the JH Large Ensemble performance at Atlas in DC a few years ago. Thank you Rick for your important work and the courage and perseverance that it took to do it.
To read more about Rick in the NYTimes, click here.

and now on to CQ news…

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET ON TOUR IN EUROPE

NOV 3
WIST – GRAZ, Austria

NOV 4
KMKC Kompleks – RAVNE, Slovenia

NOV 6
Gromka – LJUBLJANA, Slovenia

NOV 7
Jazz Club Ferrara – FERRARA, Italy

NOV 8
Jazzkeller im Mautnerschloss – BURGHAUSEN, Germany

NOV 9
Jazz GUT Unterwegs Schwanenburg – HANNOVER, Germany

NOV 10
Liveclub Telegraph – LEIZIG, Germany

NOV 11
A-Trane – BERLIN, Germany

And another addition to THE CLAUDIA QUINTET VIDEO PROJECT

Video by Christopher Davenport featuring “Meinetwegen” from CQ’s first album.

“The film footage is from Hurricane Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River in Alabama. The creek is the geologic/geographic place where the Gulf Coastal Plain and Applachian mountains meet and is a fragile but fertile ecosystem. The fish in the film only exist in the creek. The Black Warrior River is one of the 10 most threatened rivers in the nation.”

Greetings from heaven…

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Greetings from heaven…heaven on earth I should say just to be clear…or as some people call it, The MacDowell Colony! I have been living in the “Watson” cabin pictured above for the past 5 weeks with one more to go – eating great food, meeting amazing people, working 8+ hours per day, running, biking – I would go on but don’t want to make you jealous.  So instead, to distract you, here is a short video of my daily bike tour of the MacDowell Colony:
[The musical accompaniment is "Tongs of Joy" from the album Shut Up And Dance performed by Orchestre National de Jazz]

While not on the bike, I have been writing three new arrangements for a recording session in a few weeks with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band with the delicious Kate McGarry, the sumptuous Theo Bleckmann, and the delectable Uri Caine. Yes, I skipped lunch (bad idea).

What tunes am I arranging you ask?

Well since you asked: “How Can I Keep From Singing”, “The Snow is Deep” (my own composition from CQ’s What is the Beautiful?), and a de-rangement based on what I think the Russian Police Choir should have sounded like when they sang “Get Lucky” at the Sochi Olympic Games opening ceremony. We are also recording “True Colors”, “Close to You”, and “Up, Up and Away.” The album will be called Songs We Like A Lot and should be out in the spring. The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble with Theo and Kate will definitely be playing these new ones live at the next Newport Jazz Festival on July 31, 2015!

UPCOMING SHOWS!!

I’ve also been working on some new music for the Claudia Quintet. We’ll be performing in Boston, New York and close to Philadelphia:

>>> Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 24 - CAMBRIDGE, MA

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET @ Lilypad 8:00 PM

>>> Thursday, SEPTEMBER 25 – BROOKLYN, NY

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET + Anna Webber’s SIMPLE CD Release! (I hear the drummer in Anna’s trio is hot) @ Shapeshifter Lab7:00 PM

>>> Friday, SEPTEMBER 26 – BLACKWOOD, NJ

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET @ Camden County College7:30 PM & FREE!!!!

  From MacDowell, I go directly to the New England Conservatory where I’m teaching this semester for Ken Schaphorst, who is on sabbatical. In addition, the Claudia Quintet will be offering a masterclass at NEC during the day on September 24th. And here why this is such a special thing for me! (from the NEC press release which you can read in its entirety HERE):

“NEC has impacted my life as a musician/composer quite significantly over the course of my life,” says Hollenbeck. “I had an unforgettable rehearsal with George Russell and his Living Time Orchestra in the basement underneath Jordan Hall when I was 18. Two years later I heard/saw Ken Schaphorst conduct The True Colors Big Band with incredible players that I would later meet and play with professionally. Moving to NYC, I quickly realized that most of the musicians I felt to be kindred spirits had studied at NEC. The faculty at NEC past and present is extraordinary and among them are several of my heroes: my brother Pat Hollenbeck, George Russell, Jimmy Guiffre, Vic Firth, Bob Moses and my musical father, Bob Brookmeyer. It is an absolute honor to have this opportunity to teach for a semester and be surrounded by the NEC legacy.”    

  I’m also very happy to be teaching at the next Creative Music Foundation Workshop at Full Moon Resort, located one half hour west of Woodstock, New York from SEPT 29 – OCT 3.

 “Intensive Workshops, Jam Sessions and Intimate Concerts in a Spectacular Mountainside SettingComposer/multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich, composer/drummer John Hollenbeck, Indian music masters Steve Gorn (flute) and Badal Roy (tabla) will join Creative Music Studio Artistic Directors/Co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso as Guiding Artists for the CMS Fall Workshop intensive, September 29 – October 3, at the well-appointed Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY. “

Last but not least:

Team Hollenbeck along with ActiveColor is very close to unveiling a NEW WEBSITE! We’re very excited, working diligently away at it, and anticipate it’s arrival sometime soon during the month of September.

John’s Summer Blog

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From John Edward:

In Blogging for Dummies, I read that it is important to be active and consistently blog…never stop! Up until the last few months, I have been pretty good at keeping up, but recently I just needed some “alone” time.

(Disclaimer: while I imagine it does exist, I have never read Blogging for Dummies, which will become more apparent as you read on…)

Also, on April 1st, Jacques blew my cover so I had to hide out for a while. Jacques is fine by the way, but I did have to break his arms so that he, at least temporarily, couldn’t do what he did on that last blog. I should mention here that one should look closely at the date of the last blog in conjunction with what that day signifies around the world in order to truly understand if it is true or in fact a good joke. Enough said!

On the serious side, I have been just sick of the Internet, social media, and the blogosphere, so I needed to take a break, and also not add to the traffic that’s already out there for a while.

So now I’m back in my truest form to let you know what I’ve been up to in all the time I’ve saved by not hanging out on the Internet. Plus you’ll get a lot of ideas on topics you can bring up with me in conversation the next time we meet.

Berlin is a lively place with a lot of live music and events:

In past month I have seen/heard: Wye Oak, an indie-rock duo with “touches of noise and dream pop”; TuneYards, just look it up!; The Notwist, a popular German indie-rock band; Ben Frost’s Wasp Factory, a visually amazing production; Boris Chamatz’s “20 dancers for the XX Century” at Treptower Park’s Soviet Memorial; Urban Sound Solar Art Installation in Tempelhofer Feld, a surround-sound experience in a vastly open space; Achim Kaufmann with Wilbert de Joode and Frank Gratkowski at a lovely house concert; Billy Hart Quartet, where I had the honor of packing up his drums with Joey Baron; Max Andrewski’s Hütte; the new incarnation of the ONJ; and Josef Dumoulin with Dan Weiss and Ellery Eskelin. My fingers were getting tired so feel free to ask me for more details about any of these that might interest you.

I also saw the David Bowie exhibit at the Martin-Gropius Haus and I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this.

In the film category, we saw (I say we, because I’m usually accompanied by the lovely Kate Schroeder on these excursions): two recent documentaries on Ai Weiwei; a documentary about the Tiny house movement appropriately called Tiny; the exquisite and alarming Watermark; Jim Jarmursh’s Down by Law; and finally Boyhood (which we saw at a quintessential East German movie house on Karl Marx Allee). And a couple of these movies we were lucky enough to view at one of the many open-air movie festivals in Berlin in the summer – a perfect way to be outside but enjoy a good movie!

Speaking of good movies: I’m often asked about my time in Berlin and what I like about being here. Coming from a city like New York, what I always notice first about Berlin is the immense amount of open space when I look up in the sky and around me on ground level. The city has a relaxed vibrancy that feels healthy without being boring. One of my favorite things about Berlin is the incredible infrastructure of bike paths that make biking a fun and easy way to get to pretty much anywhere in the city.

To demonstrate this, I made a video to show my typical Berlin commute. For me, I appreciate being able to ride a bike considerably more than what my “normal” commute looks like, pictured below:
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So without further fanfare here is “My Berlin Morning Commute”

(Dear Mother, I do not ride the bike this fast, I used fast motion to speed up the “boring” parts. Love, John)

 

 

UPCOMING SHOWS & whatnot  >>>

While Germany is still on my mind, this Sunday, July 20 at 3:05pm EST (which is 9:05pm Central European Time), DeutschlandFunk (German Radio) will be broadcasting the JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE from our gig at Munich’s Unterfahrt Jazz Club in February.  To LIVE STREAM the concert, go to Deutschlandfunk live.

Back to America:

If you need your CLAUDIA QUINTET fix, we are performing a FREE CONCERT AT BRYANT PARK in Manhattan on August 8th at 6pm.

We will be performing our CMA commission, Royal Toast which features the quintet plus Matt Mitchell on piano.

Since I’m me, I have to go, but if I were you, I would definitely go!

 

In August, I’m lucky enough to be a MacDowell Fellow this summer, so I will be writing a whole bunch of new music while there for the Claudia Quintet, JHLE, JASS and more arrangements for the 2nd volume of Songs I Like A Lot (tentatively titled Songs We Like A Lot, which I know leaves me vulnerable to a volume 3, Songs You Like A Lot…which I guess could work out OK if “You” have similar tastes to “We” and “I”). This next volume, which we’ll be recording in Germany in September, is also with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, plus we’ve got the great Uri Caine on this one!

After that, I will be back on US soil again for some Claudia gigs where we will be playing in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia in late September – more info to follow soon!

BTW, we will be in Florida in late February, 2015 (first time for the quintet…Florida in February!!)

And lastly, last week Jon Schaefer of WNYC fame did an enjoyable New Sounds show on Drummers/Bandleaders. It is an honor to have my name mentioned in the company of the other drummer/bandleaders he featured. The JHLE playing eternal interlude concludes the show.

 

That’s all for now. Jacques’ arms will be healed soon and he will be back on the keyboard, which I’m sure will make some of you happy…or happier.

 

Over and outish,

John

An Important Revelation From John Hollenbeck

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We interrupt our normal broadcast to deliver this important statement, written by John and sent via PGP from an undisclosed location. Below is the full, unredacted text:

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Fans.

What I’m about to disclose may change your view of me forever, but I’m trusting our relationship to withstand the backlash. That said, I am ready for what may come.

I can’t hide any longer.  While you may know me as John Hollenbeck, musician, bandleader, composer, and collaborator, there is another life I’ve been leading. A life in the shadows.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Edward Snowden. Well, that man is not who he says he is. And neither am I. That Edward Snowden, the one who’s been photographed by every daily paper in the world, who appears via satellite to do TED talks at SXSW: that man is my cousin, Ron Hollenbeck. The real Edward Snowden is me.

Only my most trusted friends and family know that, in addition to a nonstop touring schedule with upwards of four different groups, a continual stream of new compositions, and extensive teaching duties, most recently in Berlin, I’ve also spent most of the last two decades working as a contracted intelligence analyst for the US government.

This might be hard to believe, but think about the parallels in our lives, from cross-border travel, to the hours spent working in seclusion on complex texts and programs with funny codenames. And really, what is music but yet another form of creative data processing?

As you all know, the time came when I couldn’t set by and let the NSA trample the privacy we all cherished. I knew once my escape was made and the stolen data began slowly leaking to the public, my safety would be at grave risk. That’s why I needed a decoy.

Because he’s my nearly-identical cousin and someone equally passionate about  privacy in civil society, Ron Hollenbeck was the only choice to act as the face of these disclosures, enduring mortal risk and  detention in Russian exile, all so that I could continue creating, and making intelligence disclosures of the musical kind.

With the publication of this statement, the US Government now knows the truth: the man they believe is Edward Snowden is really Ron Hollenbeck, while I, John Hollenbeck, am really Edward Snowden. And John Hollenbeck.

This latest revelation will certainly make touring much harder for me—but I’m not afraid. If I just keep doing what I’ve been doing, crossing quickly from country to country, using different monickers with a rotating group of co-conspirators, and traveling with a caravan of unmarked equipment, I should be able to stay out of harm’s way.

If not, and I end up in doing five lifetimes in an Ohio supermax, always remember: If you want to set the truth free, make sure your work is hard to classify.

Carry on the good fight.

Extra thanks to Ron.

Yours faithfully,

John

 

…It was news to me too.

CLAUDIA LIVE IN NYC AT CORNELIA NEXT WEEK

CQ will gig at Cornelia Street Café in New York on Thursday, April 10th, at 8:30pm. The show will be RECORDED, and if everyone in attendance is extra-good, drinks silently, and then makes copious noise between songs, then the set may end up as a Live Record!

Why be a session musician when you can be a session audience? Come get transcoded into history. Call 212.989.2319 for reservations, and visit the CSC site for whatever more details you may need.

FDR reborn

Videographer Nika Bellianina has edited this haunting footage of FDR so that it syncs up with Claudia’s Roosevelt-interpolating tune, “September 29th, 1936 Me Warn You,” off the recent September.  Check it out:

Speaking of September

Oliver Arditi recently filed this review of the record, excerpted here and also unredacted.

Under the guidance of percussionist-composer John Hollenbeck this is an ensemble that bucks the commonplace assumptions of jazz, and indeed it sounds like jazz only because its instrumental resources are predominantly characteristic of that tradition, not because its musical materials are in lock-step with the established idiom (as are far too many recordings by many fine improvisers). The compositions collected here, each named for a date in September, represent an attempt by Hollenbeck to counterbalance the overwhelming affective value of that now most famous of September days, whose impact is addressed directly on ‘September 12th: Coping Song’. (Apparently my birthday reminds him of lemons.) There is an enormous degree of invention and imagination in play here, ranging from the uni-tonal rhythmic developments of the opening ‘September 20th: Soterius Lakshmi’ to the melodic transcription a Franklin Delano Roosevelt speech in ‘September 29, 1936: Me Warn You’, and many other creative choices that rigorously discount the usual limitations and boundaries of jazz composition. There is a lot of probing improvisation from a band of extremely accomplished musicians, but there is an equal (or greater) amount of structured ensemble writing, and although much of the material is quite challenging to the ear, its radical force does not rob it of aesthetic appeal. Both fiercely intelligent and empathically beautiful, September is an album that can only have resulted from a sustained and intensive feat of concentration, with not a single lazy gesture or idiomatic cliché from start to finish. Extraordinary compositions, brilliantly performed.

Merci, Oliver.

We leave you with this “Best Of” compilation from John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s recent performance at the Wiener Konzerthaus/Vienna Concert House

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. 

 

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble Trans-Europe Tourlette Recapitulation

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com
JHLE_Rehearsal Wiener Konzerthaus_0790_©Lukas Beck downsize

JHLE rehearsal in Schubert Hall at the Vienna Concert House, February 18th. Photo Credit: LukasBeck.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 1st (2pm EST/8pm CET) ➜➜

Watch Songs I Like A Lot streamed live from Germany! 

LIVE STREAM of the Frankfurt Radio Bigband concert featuring Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann (vocals) & Matt Mitchell (piano) performing a few originals, plus NEW and old! arrangements from the Songs I Like a Lot project goes off at 2pm Eastern Standard Time (8pm Central European Time, .375 beats Internet Time).

They will premiere John’s new arrangements of True Colors (by Billy  Steinberg and Tom Kelly, made famous by Cyndi Lauper/Phil Collins); Close to You (by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, made famous by the Carpenters); and Up, Up & Away (by Jimmy Webb, made famous by The 5th Dimension).

You can TUNE IN and see them light fires Live on the Internet right HERE!

And now, our Tales from the Tourlette…

The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s sluice through Europe was well-received, well-attended, and highly photogenic. To wit, peep these photos from the Vienna Concert House performance:
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[Photos copyright ©LukasBeck.com]

Beautiful indeed! The only thing you can’t see in these lovely photo is the audience, enrapt and in multitudes—1400 strong! Such multitudes!

But how did it sound, you ask? Well, in the words of Austria’s KRONEN Zeitung: 

Kronen review_Austria_JHLE Feb 2014

 

A bit of that roughly translated, for our non-German-speaking readership:

Minimal Music meets Persian mysticism meets big band sound in contemporary garb: John Hollenbeck leads his large ensemble, composed of mostly jazz instrumentation, with ease…Delicately designed musical structures and magnificent patterns give in to meditative repetition and deepen in richness and intensity, offering a color-saturated backdrop…Fragile passages with clashing piano tunes and picturesque saxophone dashes erupt in full volume…A delightful stimulant for the spirit!

A delightful spirit stimulant! Don’t mind if we do, Herr Hollenbeck!

But what about Zagreb, you ask? Well there’s testimony from there too, in its original Croatian HERE and likewise translated, by the Renaissance man Bohdan Hilash like so:

Kada i telefon postane instrument – nesvakidašnji koncert John Hollenbeck Large Ensemblea…

When the Phone Becomes an Instrument – an Unusual Concert by the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble

Last night’s performance at Lisinski Hall by the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble was the best way to mark another concert in the “Jazz Hour” cycle. The series, already in its fourteenth consecutive year, is organized by Croatian Composers’ Society.

John Hollenbeck is an accomplished drummer with enviable experience, a composer, and leader of an unconventional big band that breaks genre boundaries and defies musical categorization.

The performances are dominated by contemporary arrangements in which the main theme is often just a starting point, the home port from which to sail uncharted waters of jazz improvisation and experience musical dialogue between instruments and instrumentalists. The emphasis of the concert was the creation of sounds and colors which utilized rarely used instruments in big band music such as flute, bass clarinet, and marimba, but also – smart phones ! In fact, at the end of “Eternal Interlude” the ensemble members used their phones as part of the performance and thus created the basis for a live digital interplay between music and improvisation to the surprise and delight of those gathered. There were many noteworthy and inspired individuals in the ensemble, especially singer Theo Bleckmann whose vocalisms and unobtrusive musical ornaments served as a very special “instrument” during the evening.

Hollenbeck impressed as being more than just a pleasant figure, with witty announcements throughout the show and benign remarks addressed to the members of the gang. The audience learned that what inspires the compositions such as the memories of family members’ reaction to guarana, a Brazilian plant that helps with impotence.

For more tour photos, check out this comprehensive snapshot album HERE, plus this outstanding DVD-bonus album of pictures taken by the band (quite expertly) HERE.

Lastly but never leastly…

after john’s Large Ensemble leadership duties are over, he will rest on his laurels immediately take up playing drums on this trio tour (during which he will teleport to Champaign Urbana, Illinois on March 6th for a performance of On Behalf of Nature with the Meredith Monk Ensemble):

TOUR with SAMO SALMON AND JULIAN ARGUELLES

2.3.2014 – Pfaffenhofen, GERMANY

3.3.2014 – Maribor, SLOVENIA

4.3.2014 – Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

8.3.2014 – Divača, SLOVENIA

9.3.2014 – Linz, AUSTRIA

 

The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s European Expedition

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John-Zagreb_Banner photo

John-Zagreb_Text photo

Above flyer made for the Zagreb concert by the great Sigi Feigl,
who leads the HGM Jazzorkestar Zagreb, a tremendous support! 

—JHLE TOUCHES NEW SOIL IN EUROPE—

Say, it’s been months since we last spoke. Happy New Year from Camp Hollenbeck! How go the resolutions? Didn’t make any? Splendid! Us neither!

New question: where on earth has John not yet been? Better question: where on earth has John not yet brought over a score of musicians and their equipment? A partial answer may be found in this latest continental tour:

VIENNA – BUDAPEST- ZAGREB – MUNICH – GENEVA

That’s right! The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s debut performance in each of these European cities! A rare opportunity (really, it’s nearly impossible, with the schedules and the logistics—oy!) a seriously rare opportunity for European audiences to hear this exceptional ensemble, composed of a select group of the most talented and accomplished musicians from New York City performing LIVE! If you live in one of the above countries or you’ve got a Schengen passport, you should already be searching the Internet for tickets! (But if you don’t have the time, we’ve done it for you – see below for details!)

Just listen to what Martin Longley had to say:

“Hollenbeck’s composing for his Large Ensemble has now developed a deeply personal language, retaining jazz values as it launches into a pan-stylistic orbit.”  — Martin Longley, All About Jazz

Are you somehow unfamiliar with the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble? Unlike most contemporary big bands, this is no random agglomeration of freelancers – the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble is an actual band consisting of top New York musicians. John had been writing for big band since he was in college at the Eastman School of Music, and eventually formed the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble in 1998 as an outlet to write the kind of music that wasn’t being written for this style of big band.

As he put it, “I saw some things that could be done that weren’t being done, and I thought there might be some other possibilities with a group that still has traditional instrumentation but the music itself is not traditional.” He gathered together a core group of musician friends who he had studied with at Eastman, and then selected a group of New York City musician friends and colleagues to complete the ensemble, creating a fine balance of camaraderie, integrity and talent, the perfect outlet for the creative expression of his music.

WHERE AND WHEN JHLE MAY BE SEEN—

Großer Saal Großer Saal Wiener Konzerthaus/ Large Hall Vienna Concert Hall[/caption]

FEB 18 Wiener Konzerthaus  – Vienna, AUSTRIA

FEB 19 Palace of the Arts – Budapest, HUNGARY

FEB 20 Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall – Zagreb, CROATIA

FEB 21 Jazzclub Unterfahrt – Munich, GERMANY

FEB 22 AMR/Sud des Alpes Concert Hall – Geneva, SWITZERLAND

 

in other news…
—MIDWINTER’s LOVE for ’SEPTEMBER’—

Praise and consideration continues for Claudia Quintet’s latest, September, out this past Q4 in record shops everywhere. Below, we’re proud to reprint two brief but effusive reviews.

From John Shand in Australia (in which we’re reminded that September is not September everywhere):

 The relationship between silence and music is like that between a virgin coastline and the threat of residential development. Just as some buildings blend and others obliterate, some music embraces the silence on which it is painted, and some seeks to expunge all traces.

Silence is a relative term: it can mean a sense of air around the notes rather than gaping wounds of nothingness, and in this regard certain instruments are more telling than others.

Vibraphone is king, its every note seeming to have air swishing around it. Accordion and clarinet are others, and these three colours are central to the aerated sound of the Claudia Quintet, the New York band that realises the unique sonic dreams of drummer John Hollenbeck.

 All these Hollenbeck compositions were penned in the month of September – our March – when the warmth of summer lingers during the days, while the evenings hint at the cold to come. Hollenbeck writes cosmopolitan melodies that are by turns charming and wistful, sometimes underpinning them with surprisingly knotty rhythms, given that the end music is seldom dense.

Clarinettist Chris Speed can play storming tenor saxophone when required, and the bass of either Drew Gress or Chris Tordini completes the line-up with accordionist Red Wierenga and vibraphonist Matt Moran. Have a listen. It is like a breath of fresh air.

 

And this thoughtful and heartfelt appreciation from Grego Applegate Edwards:

 Some times of life are born of frustration. Like this Monday morning when I try and get my reviews done, the PDFs are slow, slow, slow in coming up, as is everything else, I wonder if my virus software is actually functioning as a virus by slowing everything to a crawl, the superfast internet connection seems about as fast as my old telephone modem, spell-check not working right, the tasks and life waiting for me when done perhaps as horrifying as any I’ve experienced. And on and on, bitch, gripe, bla bla bla.

 But then the Claudia Quintet plays as I write this and I remember why in every way I was attracted to music, why I play it, listen to it, why I’ve been doing these reviews so long, and I try to forget the rest.

 The Claudia Quintet? Yes. Their album September (Cuneiform Rune 377). Who is it? Drummer-composer John Hollenbeck. Red Wierenga, accordion, Chris Tordini, contrabass, clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Chris Speed and vibraphonist Matt Moran, and Drew Gress on bass for all but the four cuts that have Tordini.

This is their ump-teenth album. It’s the first I’ve heard and I am glad to be in on it now. It’s progressive jazz, compositional jazz, jazz that has a sound very much its own, a touch of rock, things that appeal to musicians because they have something behind them musically, and yes, should appeal to “real” music lovers, too.

 The album is all about the month of September. But it sounds good in any month. There is a sampled speech by FDR, taking the opposition to the New Deal to task for their insincerity. The rhythm and tonemic thrust of the speech is turned into a compositional structure–much as Reich has done with works like “Different Trains”, only perhaps more “jazzed”.

 Well and so there are other nice things to like here. This is ensemble music of a high sort. It is important music. It is not in any way expected music. It is not the same old music. So if you are a bassist, a guitarist, a music lover, it is music to hear and grow your ears with.

And so I put it to you, dear readers, as an example of something that’s excellent about the time we live in.

We live. This music helps that along. It is very recommended.

 —CON-GRAMMY-U-LATIONS—

In closing, John Hollenbeck and company wish to extend thoroughgoing kudos to fellow Eastman alums Maria Schneider and Renée Fleming, who also gave a stirring rendition of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Eastman rocks!

Nomination, Domination, and the Return of Misty Hymen

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Claudia Quintet LIVE_8390_©Signe Maehler

CQ live at A-Trane, Berlin. Photo courtesy Signe Maehler

GRAMMY NOM NOM 

We here at Camp Hollenbeck are very proud to announce that John has received a Grammy nomination for his arrangement of Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress.” The tune appears on Songs I Like A Lot, and features Gary Versace on the piano and organ, and Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann on vocals with the Frankfurt Radio BigBand. In the afore linked-to article, All About Jazz’s John Kelman calls it “positively IMAX;” he recently selected it as one of 2013′s “top recorded events in Jazz and beyond,” while his colleague C. Michael Bailey did likewise.  It is, to use the old critic’s saw, a nom quite richly deserved. Listen to it here:

Not that we’re counting, but this will be John’s fourth Grammy nomination, following Large Ensemble’s A Blessing and eternal interlude, and “Falling Men,” off Shut Up and Dance, John’s 2010 collaboration with Daniel Yvinec and Orchestre National de Jazz.

You can check out the category in full here (and begin petitioning your local affiliate today to broadcast the granting of the instrumental awards, so often relegated offscreen!)

MORE KIND WORDS FOR SEPTEMBER 

Even into December, CQ’s latest, September, still finds its lovers multiplying. DownBeat’s John Corbett gave it four stars, citing its “miraculous little sonic universes.” In fact, three out of four DB critics gave it four stars in this month’s HotBox. Ralph Miriello chose it for his 2013 Jazz Journalists Association ‘best of’ list.  Jazz Times dubbed it “one of [John’s] most forceful and immediate efforts.” Irish Times proclaims it, “what music will sound like 100 years from now.” John Kelman And it is eMusic’s Pick of the Week, there described as “A curiously warped beauty, one that captivates as smartly as it challenges.”

The group’s live performances have not escaped notice either, including happy dispatched from Ian Patterson at All About Jazz and Gary Kelly at Culture Northern Ireland. Simon Adams at the Jazz Journal finds John “always an adventurous musician, pushing at the compositional limits,” while John Fordham said of CQ’s performance alongside the Royal Academy of Music’s Big Band that it “confirmed [Claudia] as one of jazz’s world leaders in the subtle balance of improv and composition.”

The strong response has even gone beyond English alone, with Ettore Garzia speaking of “Fra le esperienze più gustose e valide del jazz,” and Sergio Piccirilli of El Intruso praising the group’s performance at the Angel City Jazz Fest with: “Final para un concierto que -debido a su elocuente creatividad y viva representación de la “metamorfosis” experimentada por el jazz en el nuevo milenio– será muy difícil de olvidar.” Meanwhile friends in Paris sent us this CHOC, reproduced below from the December issue of Jazz Magazine.

Grazie, Graçias, and Merci bien.

RUN377_JazzMag

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET VIDEO PROJECT

Video artists, filmmakers, motionographers of every shade: if listening to Claudia finds you catching the creative spirit, bring your ideas to video life, and send a link where we can view them to hollenbeckmusic@gmail.com. We will feature our favorites on YouTube and all across the Hollenbeck Internet as testaments to artistic procreation—and, to make it a true contest, we’ll award a prize of $250 to our #1 pick. The deadline for submission is January 31st.

And now, allow us to present the latest in the Claudia Quintet Video Project: Mr. Ryan Dight, interpreting “Misty Hymen” from I, Claudia.

 CQ at CSC + REFUGE TRIO at CSC

Good news: New Yorkers in need of a Hollenbeck fix need wait only until the new year. In their surpassing wisdom, the curatorial minds at Cornelia Street Café have programmed an entire weekend John Hollenbeck Fest.

CLAUDIA QUINTET will perform:

Thursday, January 9th at 8:30&10:00pm

Friday, January 10th, at 9&10:30pm.

Then, on Saturday, January 11th, at 9&10:30pm, John rejoins Theo Bleckmann and Gary Versace as REFUGE TRIO.

That’s no fewer than FIVE live Hollenbeck opportunities. Those seeking tickets would do well to call 212.989.9319 to make reservations…and arrive early!

Himalayas, Redwood Highways, and The Claudia Quintet Video Project

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

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JAZZMANDU

Towards the end of October, Claudia Quintet found themselves in beautiful new territory when they came to join Jazzmandu, “The Best Jazz Party in the Himalayas,” and plainly one of the best-named music festivals anywhere. With live sets in full fivesome mode at the club Jazz Upstairs, Gokarna Forest Resort, the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, and the Jazzmandu Finale, John also manned the batons with CQ as part of an 11-piece international pan-jazz revue, a vertible “musical Tihar,” in the words of one reviewer. You can read more firsthand accounts in that piece in the Himalayan Times here, and take in the sights that Claudia saw in Kathmandu, Nepal at this marvelously colorful photo gallery here.

SEPTEMBER MARCHES ON

Claudia Quintet’s latest record, September, continues to garner positive notice far and wide. Ralph Miriello glowingly reviewed the record and its accompanying live show in a piece now living on the Huffington Post. Jeff Dayton-Johnson wrote about the record and then even went so far as to speak with John himself, over at All About Jazz. The conversation went so deep that inside sources tell us even John’s own wife learned something new from the article. Robert Ham interviewed as well, in the Willamette Week, revealing how John’s approach to drumming has changed over the years. If these reviews so move you, you can own yourself an album by visiting the Cuneiform bandcamp here.

COMMENCING NOW: THE CLAUDIA QUINTET VIDEO PROJECT

Picture: you are listening to Royal Toast. Sound waves tumble down ear canals on both sides and make fast friends with your weirdest of neuron clusters, proliferating wondrous and strange images inside your head. Claudia has brought to light a vision, and you would show the world if only you had a good excuse to do so.

Announcing The Claudia Quintet Video Project.

Video artists, animators, filmmakers of all stripes: when next you are listening to a Claudia tune and find you’ve caught the feeling, bring your ideas to video life and send a link where we can view them to hollenbeckmusic@gmail.com. We will feature our favorites on YouTube and all across the Hollenbeck Internet as testaments to artistic procreation—and, to make it a true contest, we’ll award a prize of $250 to our #1 pick. The deadline for submission is January 15th. 

We’ve commissioned five video artists already. The first video in our project, by Jak Ritger, may be seen below. Here’s to your work joining his soon!

EUROTOUR AHEAD

You needn’t be Nepali to see John and the gang. Touring continues in Europe this month with The Claudia Quintet; all you who live there, take note and ticket up.

Nov 19  A Trane - Berlin, GERMANY

Nov 20-22  Residency at the Royal Academy of Music - London, UK

Nov 23  London Jazz Festival (with the RAM Big Band) - London, UK  

Nov 24  The Mac - Belfast, N. IRELAND

Nov 25  The Workmans Club - Dublin, IRELAND


Looking further into the future:
New Yorkers will get the chance to see John at the Cornelia Street Cafe with The Claudia Quintet on JAN 9 & 10th, and with Refuge Trio on JAN 11th…2014!!

DRIVE THROUGH TREES AND OTHER ADVENTURES

We conclude, as is sometimes our wont, with tour photo dispatches, this time from CQ’s recent travels in the US West. See the gang motor through redwoods, trundle up beaches, and more, at this photo gallery here.

September (And Everything After)

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

As of September 24th, Claudia Quintet’s latest record is available for purchase, listen, and beloving. The new album, September, features compositions that John wrote last September and features Claudia “Classic” dudes: Chris Speed, Matt Moran and Drew Gress, plus Eastman chum Red Wierenga as well as frequent bass-sub Chris Tordini.

Early reviews have not been displeased. Nate Chinen of the New York Times calls it “inspired,” noting that “the bouquet of timbres that Claudia Quintet presents hasn’t lost its freshness.”  S. Victor Aaron of Something Else! Reviews believes “Hollenbeck’s genius is very much present,” sharing equal love for the group as well, as “composing and musicianship are always at the highest level.”

All tracks were begun or completed in Septembers past, each named for and married to a date. Snatch a copy of the new album here. You can also learn more about the record, or sample the tune Chinen singled out as “most gorgeously melancholy,” “12th Coping Song:

ALSO: John and Co. join Balkan Bravuranauts, Slavic Soul Party! at (le) Poisson Rouge on October 3rd. By no means a massive venue, so New Yorkers and those nearby ought buy tickets on the double!

TOUR TIME

For every record, there is a tour (tour tour tour). Starting in October, CQ stretches bi-coastally, then bi-hemispherically, stopping along the way at the superbly-named Jazzmandu festival in Nepal where they spread peace with music amidst natural splendor. November then finds them again astride northern Europe…

Oct 2 Bucknell University - Lewisburg, PA

Oct 3 Le Poisson Rouge - NYC, NY

Oct 4 Firehouse 12 - New Haven, CT

Oct 5 Lewis & Clark College - Portland, OR

Oct 6 Cornish College - Seattle, WA

Oct 7 Willamette University - Salem, OR

Oct 8 Arcata Playhouse - Arcata, CA

Oct 9 Bows & Arrows - Sacramento, CA

Oct 10 Kuumbwaa Jazz Center - Santa Cruz, CA

Oct 11 Red Cat (Angel City Jazz Fest) -  Los Angeles, CA

Nov 19 Atrane, Berlin

Nov 20-22 Residency at the Royal Academy of Music 

Nov 23 London Jazz Festival (with the RAM Big Band) 

Nov 24 -  The Mac, Belfast

Nov 25 – The Workmans Club, Dublin

“Since I was young, I always thought jazz was the next thing, the thing that does not have a label yet. Once it is called something and has been codified, then for me it WAS jazz but is not any more”

Ready yourself for the Hollenbeck live experience by reading more from this interview John sat for recently with marlbank.

Wyoming, September, Laurie and Kris

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

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WHAT JOHN DOES ON HIS SUMMER (SEMI-)VACATION

Latest insider reports show that John has taken up temporary home on the range, where buffalo roam and projectiles fly, albeit in safely different directions. Per John himself:

“I’m at this residency on a resort lodge in Wyoming called Brush Creek for 3 more weeks. Trying to write some music, in between fun activities like gun club, hiking, archery, yoga…”

Brush Creek, we hasten to add, is no roaming-range-come-lately. As they tell it:

“Over the years, Brush Creek Ranch has built a solid reputation, serving as a home to numerous families, cattle and horse herds, offering a one-of-a-kind gathering place for guests from around the world…

The story of Brush Creek Ranch dates back to 1884 when the Sterrett brothers settled the land and built the original homestead with logs cut, skid and hauled from the adjoining National Forest. A spirit of hard work, recreation, adventure and good times shared together are prevalent in the archives of days past, from famous barn and campfire cookouts to fishing on the renowned Brush Creek…

The fall of 2011 brought the newest philanthropic program from Bruce and Beth White, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts—the newest artist-in-residence program in the great state of Wyoming. With this unique program, we share the gift of time and space with selected artists, writers and musicians from around the world in this unforgettable landscape.”

Sounds like soul-restoring stuff, doesn’t it? Roast a few marshmallows for us, John.

ANSWERING THE CALL

Prior to his retreat, John was at the Edinburgh International Festival with Meredith Monk, performingOn Behalf of Nature, where he formed part of the dance/performance/vocal corps known as the Vocal Ensemble. This deeply Monkian evening-length piece lays bare its thematic concerns while still summoning a complex reflection from its audience—or at least so say its many well-stirred reviewers. Learn more about the piece and see an excerpt here.

FRANCO-AMERICAN STEW

John has received a grant (again!), this time in support of the 2013-2014 season of the French-American Jazz Exchange. The grant, from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the French-American Cultural Exchange, sustains a new project that joins John with a bangup crew of french brassmen.

From the announcement:

“JASS is a new quartet led by American drummer John Hollenbeck and French saxophonist Alban Darche that also features French double bassist Sébastien Boisseau and Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser, who now resides in New York City. The ensemble will create a new body of work composed collaboratively by Darche and Hollenbeck, who both use polyrhythmic textures and processes borrowed from groove and minimalist music. The group will rehearse and perform seven concerts in France, record the new compositions in the United States, and follow with touring stops in Cambridge, MA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington, DC.”

Chantmé!

Learn more and read the complete press release here.

NEW CLAUDIA IS NIGH!

Claudia Quintet’s new record comes out on September 24th. Stunningly soon! Uncontainably exciting, we know!

The new record, September, will feature compositions that John wrote last September and features Claudia “Classic” dudes:Chris Speed, Matt Moran and Drew Gress, plus Eastman chum Red Wierenga as well as frequent bass-sub Chris Tordini.

Of course, as autumn follows summer, this record’s release means new tour dates for the 5tet, including an ultrafresh release party on October 3rd at Le Poisson Rouge with special guests Slavic Soul Party. Smashing.

Check out the gig details (and jump on tickets early) here. Learn more about the upcoming release, including a fuller list of tour dates, here.

For a nice sneak preview, here’s a lovely clip of Coping Song, written on September 12th, 2001 at the Blue Mountain Center.

REMEMBRANCES

On a sad note, we mark the passing of two dear friends this summer.

In July, Laurie Frink, a charter member of JHLE, passed. You can read John’s remembrance of her through the chains of email they exchanged, here, as well as Nate Chinen’s in the Times.

And this, from John:

“recently, Kris Goessens, who has been the pianist with the New Art Orchestra since the beginning, died suddenly.

I also played a lot of trio through the years with him and Ingmar Heller (the bassist with the NAO). He was a dear, sweet guy who will be missed. His playing was unbelievable-I can’t even explain it, but it was like he was channeling a sacred priest who played the piano.

photo of kris

The following are Bob’s liner notes from Get Well Soon – Recorded In August 2002

‘Kris Goessens is one of the world’s best kept secrets, something he and I hope to alter soon, playing duo on concert tours.  He has a depth of feeling and touch that I find unequaled by anyone I have heard.  He also has a quiet daring, use of space and register that break accepted barriers AND, patience, to allow an idea to unfold and fully speak.  His language is his and he feels almost painfully the act of creation.’”

 

Laurie Frink

I can not actually remember the first time I met Laurie Frink, but when I first started a large ensemble and asked trumpet players who to hire for the Trumpet 4 book, she was on everybody’s list.  And rightly so. Only slowly did I get to know her, her sharp wit and steadfast musicianship.  At times it seemed like she was in every major big band in NYC. Later, I would hear about how she was the chops doctor/therapist for brass players of all kinds, from newbies to experienced veterans. Like most, I was and am still in disbelief that she is suddenly gone.

As a way to heal and remember, I started looking through our email exchanges over the last several years. Although they are mostly about gigs, I can still hear and see Laurie when I read through them which somehow gives me a little solace.  I’ve gathered her responses here in chronological order and wanted to share them so others could share in this memory of her dry wit and “no BS” directness!  I’m still shaken when this compilations ends so suddenly without any resolution.

With gratitude, John

 

all can work

Laurie 

 

Hi John

It looks like I will be out of town Nov 2-4 so rehearsing earlier would be better for me

Laurie

 

whoo hooooo!!  congrats!!

Laurie

 

Hey John

fun gig!!  sorry bout the $–I didn’t realize we were getting paid last nite.  Mail is cool—–thanks

Laurie

 

Hi John

2-5 nov 13–see you then—-yes, I’d like music

Laurie

 

not me

Laurie

 

I had a great time playing your music!!!!!  could you shoot me the address of the studio please.  also–do you have a cutoff time or is it open ended—–anythings cool with me —just curious

thanks

Laurie 

 

John

I am out of town so i can’t look at my passport.  I’ll be in town for a minute on tuesday and will let you know what it says for sure

(probably Laurie Ann Frink but I’m not positive about the middle name being there)

As far as flight requests, I don’t care about the meal (it all sucks) but I’ll need an aisle seat as I am a pacer with a bad back.

thanks

Laurie 

 

june 13–good

june 12–anytime

Laurie

 

ok

Laurie

 

either is fine for me

Laurie

 

ok

Laurie

 

fine

Laurie

 

confirmed

Laurie

 

same address

240 west 98th #7G NYC 10025

Laurie

 

sorry–i thought I had responded–i;m good

Laurie

 

Hi John,

I’m upstate and internet has been wacky—can’t determine whether my reply got sent to you or not—sorry if this is a repeat

everything is doable (if I could please have about 10 days notice if possible) except for the 20 and 21 from 5:30 on.

Laurie

 

I’m good

Laurie

 

anytime

Laurie

 

anytime

Laurie

 

I’m good

Laurie

 

just to clarify–is the rehearsal oct 12?

Laurie

 

thanks–i got confused

Laurie

 

Hi John–thanks for the offer below–how about my rent for the remainder of the year…haha

pay-$100 (if you have extra expenses that you would like me to cover, please let me know)

 

 

I’m good for everything and have no preferences for dates or leavetimes.

Laurie

 

Hi John

thats great!!  the main thing I have to offer is that the traffic getting across the bridge into Newport is a f*&^king NITEMARE!!!

I can’t emphasize this enough…….last year I played with 2 different bands and the ‘sound checks’ really didn’t happen……

Laurie

 

confirmed–it doesnt matter to me when we fly—one thing that does matter:

if its possible I’d like an aisle seat on the plane–i’m a restless traveler with bad knees and lower back issues—I like to get up a lot

thanks

Laurie

 

yep

Laurie

 

doesnt’ matter

Laurie

 

april 25 works–I can rehearse any day except  april 23

Laurie

 

I’d need to finish by 5:30–anytime before can work

Laurie

 

good for me

Laurie

 

im good

Laurie

 

Hi John

MSM has scheduled its trumpet entrance auditions on tuesday afternoon and as one of 3 trumpet faculty

I really need to be there for some of it at least so I’m sorry to say that I’ll be late to the soundcheck.

looking forward to the next several days.

Laurie

 

the auditions go til 6, but I figured I’d jump in a cab @ 4:30—so depending on traffic I should be there by 5.

I went to school at the University of Nebraska

Laurie

 

I’m up–standing , and awake—thanks –sorry to have to bother you with all of this……..

Laurie

 

cool

Laurie

 

cool

Laurie

 

I’m cool with this

Laurie

 

cool–sorry to be tardy

Laurie

 

cool—BTW is Newport on for aug 6 or 7??–sorry I’m such an airhead

Laurie

 

Hi John

I will be in Newport from aug 4 on…..sorry

Laurie

 

august 1  4:30 on

august 2 3 PM on

Laurie

 

John

Maybe everyone already knows this, but just in case—-getting across the Newport bridge can be a nitemare!!!!

Allow at least an extra hour….maybe even more

Laurie

 

Confirmed–I’ll need a parking permit

Laurie

 

I will be traveling with Lois–will she need a pass to get into the festival?

Laurie

 

I can also just flirt real heavy with the guard……

Laurie

 

Late afternoon on the 11th would work

Laurie

 

Hi John

I’m in Newport without nicks email address– could you please send it to me –

I need someone to translate the tickets– I can’t figure out leaving and arriving times— sorry to be so lame

Laurie

 

I will get myself to the airport tomorrow

Laurie

 

Confirmed— I will get myself to Newark tomorrow

Laurie

 

thanks john–already printed it…….

Laurie

 

Hi John

The folks you asked are exactly the ones I would have suggested.  Perhaps ask Kenny Wheeler??   I am disappointed to say that I’m going to be unable to do the KW gig…sorry.   I’ve had many inspiring times with him and was really looking forward to this gig.

Laurie

 

Re: pic from lisbon….how come I’m the only one looking at JC? (:

maybe you’re lost????

Laurie

 

good

Laurie

 

Hi John,

No problem. Thanks for the advance notice.

Happy new year!

Laurie

 

got it will be there with bells on

Laurie

 

ok for me

Laurie

 

cool

i also have in my book nov 28-dec 3–is this happening or did I forget to delete?

my mother didn’t like me

Laurie

 

Never have we doubled up

Laurie

 

 

either

Laurie

 

I am in the woods with no scanner or fax–here is a photo–

laurie frink photo

 

i’m ok–sorry–thought I’d answered

Laurie

 

How are we traveling to DC?

Laurie

 

yay!!! thanks

Laurie

 

I’m good–happy new year!!

Laurie

 

cool don’t care

Laurie

 

John,

I am very sorry to do this, but I’m not going to be able to do the tour this spring.

I will miss you all and especially playing the music, but I’m really getting jammed up.

Laurie

 

please let me know that you got my last email

Laurie

Refuge Trio, Brooklyn Conservatory BYOB, and L’Ensemble Cairn

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

POWERS OF THREE

Refuge Trio reunites for three Northwesterner gigs! First, a residency and concert at University of Oregon on May 9th, then, on May 15th, as part of Earshot’s Spring Series in Seattle, and, finally, at PDX Jazz at the Mission Theatre, on May 16th. Tickets available at the afore-linked links.

For those uninitiated or curious, check out this preview article from the Eugene Weekly(featuring a super-dashing photo of Theo to add to your collection). You’re also encouraged to scroll down for a Rashomon-style interview with each member of the group…

THE UN-CONSERVATORY

The Claudia Quintet with Matt Mitchell will appear at Brooklyn Conservatory on Thursday, June 13, at 7 and 9:30 pm. They will play the Conservatory’s “Jazz Club,” performing—per special request—music from Claudia’s 2010 LP, Royal Toast. Reports, if they can be believed, say BYOB. OK!

What could be better than classic Claudia and hand-brought beer? Why, a live pre-concert Q&A with noted music journalist David Adler! Not bad!

Personnel on hand:

John Hollenbeck, drums
Chris Speed, clarinet and tenor saxophone
Red Wierenga, accordion
Drew Gress, acoustic bass
Matt Moran, vibraphone
And SPECIAL GUEST: Matt Mitchell, piano

To purchase tickets please click here

To hear “Sphinx,” from Royal Toast, click here.

Below, a love song for John’s beloved Kate, entitled “Love Song for Kate,” from Claudia’s first record, matched with the poetry of Dylan Thomas. A splendid look for all involved.

ECOUTEZ L’ENSEMBLE CAIRN

“Flock,” John’s piece for French contemporastronauts L’Ensemble Cairn, is now listenable as a podcast by clicking here. Please note this podcast is only available for listening until JUNE 5th. No dawdling!

What you’ll hear if you’ll listen is the premiere performance at the Theatre d’Orleans, from March 8th. The Ensemble plays “Limpidity of Silences” (previously recorded by Claudia Quintet, this is its first actual performance), followed by a new commission for them, “The Commons,” then an orchestration for the Ensemble of John’s Bang On A Can commission, “Rainbow Jimmies.” “Flock” is the encore.

The concert starts with a great piece called “Aschenblume,” by Mauro Lanza, plus a premiere by the crafty New York wildcat, Alex Mincek, titled, “Donegal.” (But if you’re in a hurry, the Hollenbeck portion starts at 34:40.)

For those fortunate enough to be shouting distance from Douai, you can see L’Ensemble perform this piece live, at the Hippodrome Douai on June 1st. Allez!

AS PROMISED ABOVE, AN INTERVIEW WITH EACH OF THE MEMBERS OF REFUGE TRIO, IN CASE YOU WERE CURIOUS

Courtesy UOregon’s Liner Notes Blog

Gary Versace:

1. What are you planning to bring to the performance at the University?

Lots and lots of weed. (Not really. But if you know anyone… :)

2. Can you tell us the musical journey of Refuge Trio? How did you start as a band?

With instruments and microphones, then we plugged the shit in, and BAM. Wok tee, baby.

3. What are your biggest influences in music that shape your style today?

Spandex.

4. Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to share with the readers?

A large toothpick replica of st. patrick’s cathedral that i’ve been working on for months…it’s pretty sweet.

Theo Bleckmann:

1. What are you planning to bring to the performance at the University?

Old and new music performed in new ways.

2. Can you tell us the musical journey of Refuge Trio? How did you start as a band?

This trio was formed to play at the 2002 Wall-to-Wall Joni Mitchell Marathon Concert at Symphony Space in NYC. Since then, they have continued to explore music from all genres following a unique collaborative path.

Their repertoire includes their own originals as well as compositions by Joni Mitchell, Theolonius Monk, Dmitri Schostakovitsch, Sidsel Endresen and Allan Holdsworth among others.

3. What are your biggest influences in music that shape your style today?

Pretty much everything influences me, either in a good way that makes me want to learn about it and have more of it in my life, or in a way that defines what I want to avoid.

4. Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to share with the readers?

I am working on a new band with harpist Zeena Parkins (Björk) performing some of my new songs and some baroque music.

John Hollenbeck:

1. What are you planning to bring to the performance at the University?

TOYS…LOTSA TOYS

2. Can you tell us the musical journey of Refuge Trio? How did you start as a band?

gary has the funny answer, theo the real one….so I think you got all you need on this one!

3. What are your biggest influences in music that shape your style today?

yesterday I heard a great album from a band from Berlin called Schneeweiss and Rotenrot-the album is called Pool-check it out!

but usually I’m behind the current trends….as I’m writing this I’m listening to deerhoof and just to show how unhip I am-this is my first time listening to them…..I get into everything about 5-10 years after everyone else it seems……next up for me is probably The Dirty Projectors since I’ve been hearing about them for about 5 years…..

eternal favs:

Peter Garland, Brian Eno, György Ligeti

4. Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to share with the readers?

That reminds me that what I should be doing right now is finishing music for the upcoming Claudia Quintet record, called September that is coming out in, you guessed it-September!  Also revising some new music for this great new music ensemble from Paris, France, Ensemble Cairn, that I will play with in a few weeks….yikes I got to get back to work.

Today, Cornelia Street; Tomorrow, Dukedom

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

claudia in St. Louis w_Tordini

Claudia Quintet take Cornelia Street (with special guest, Chris Tordini)

This week CQ swings through old stomping grounds in the West Village. All shows are All Ages, so you can bring your baby (or your baby’s baby).

Friday, April 19 at 9 & 10:30PM 
and Saturday, April 20, at 9 & 10:30PM

Go once! Go twice in a night ! Go four times in a weekend!

Call 212-989-9319 for tickets or visit their website for details

Shortwave signals

The Claudia Qunitet will “appear” in an accordion special hosted by Ssrirus Pakzad (correct spelling!). Part of the show, “radioJazznacht,” it will be broadcast on may 4th, 6pm-8pm New York Time, on Bayern 2 (Bayerischer Rundfunk). Listen in via live stream here.

And for our readers who are fluent in Portguese, we have a nice feeling what ‘forca positiva’ might mean, but we’d appreciate your help to verify.Check the full interview here.

Next step: Knighthood

We are very proud to announce that John has been appointed to England’s Royal Academy of Music as their Visiting Professor of Jazz for the academic year 2013/2014. In John’s words as quoted by RAM:

John Hollenbeck said, ’It is a distinct honour to be invited to teach at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music as a Visiting Professor of Jazz. I anticipate it will be an insightful and enriching experience for me to work with the Academy’s students, and I hope to inspire and motivate the students in return, serving to bring them closer to their chosen path.’

See, he even used the added ‘u’ when he said ‘honor’! Righto!

Tour Pix: Dispatches from the Midwest

What began at the Jazz Standard, went to Ohio and ended in Johnson City, NY. For those not fortunate enough to see shows or play along for the ride, you can view a comprehensive gander of the proceedings right here from “Mr. Enthusiasm” Steven Lugerner!

From Radio Waves and Magazine Pages to The Jazz Standard and The Wex

 

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

Old Media <3′s John

Ladies and gentleman, John Hollenbeck has hit the mainstream. At long last, the unclassifiable is cool. No longer will “no labels” be an impediment to earnest attention from the masses. For on newsstands now—that’s right, I said newsstands—you can find not one but TWO highly respected journalistic organs devoting raw pagespace for John and his travails.

In this latest issue of The New Republic you can read “Music Without Category,” by David Hajdu. To wit:

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 7.34.41 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-30 at 7.36.54 PM

Likewise, in this current issue of Stereophile  magazine you can read an extensive article on John, written by Mr. Robert Baird.

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 7.35.05 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-30 at 7.41.55 PM

Let this pristine ink not be spilled in vain! Get thee to your corner store or bookshop and have at least a pagethrough of these pieces. Neither will be found on the Internet—that rascal’s den of the errant and inane—so you must go into the light of the real press and read it for yourself! Go! The sunshine will do you some good!

And did we mention…the Radio?

Not only does John appear in glossy print this month, but he and stellar vocal partner Mr. Theo Bleckmann will join Michael Bourne on his show Singers Unlimited on Sunday, March 31st at 12pm on WBGO 88.3FM. NYC/NJ Hollenfans, bust out your radio and tune in. Internet Citizens of Hollenbeck Nation, set your dials to www.wbgo.org and join the party via web.

Upcoming shows

To read and hear the words and music of John is good. But to do so in the same room as the man himself? Another story completely. Hear the music unadulterated by airwaves, and be in proximate communion with with your fellow fans. Be advised of the below shows—the critics have taken notice too—and get satisfied physically:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble SONGS I LIKE A LOT with Kate McGarry & Theo Bleckmann @ Jazz Standard

116 E 27th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY

Sets: 7:30 PM/9:30PM
TICKETS $20

All Ages, Ticket Here

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

John Hollenbeck SONGS I LIKE A LOT with Kate McGarry & Theo Bleckmann @ Oberlin College

135 W. Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH

Set: 8:00 PM

All Ages, Tickets Here

Thursday, April 4, 2013

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble SONGS I LIKE A LOT with Kate McGarry & Theo Bleckmann @ Wexner Center for the Arts

1871 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43210-1393

(614) 292-3535 Set: 8:00 PM

All Age, Tickets Here

Tickets: $16 members/ $18 general public/ $13 students

Friday, April 5, 2013

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble SONGS I LIKE A LOT with Kate McGarry & Theo Bleckmann @ The Goodwill Theatre

67 Broad Street, Johnson City, NY 13790

607.772.2404 Set: 7:00 PM

All Ages, Tickets Here

Tickets: $15 / $12 / 10  

More likes for Songs I Like A Lot

The latest review begins, “„Welcome to the first classic album of 2013!“, jubelt down beat.”

Beyond that, I can’t read it, but mayhaps you can! Check it out on this most-excellent german language jazz site.

For a closer-to-home take on SILAL, may we suggest the Los Angeles Times? This quick blurb (replete with lovely action shot) says a mouthful.

JH for young ears

We close with this, from a friend of the Hollenfamily. You’ve known John Hollenbeck is outstanding listening for grownups of all stripes. But did you know it could also be delivered to younger, more formative minds, as part of a well-balanced musical awakening? Read on…

From Jack Hollenbeck’s (7th grader-nephew of John) excellent music teacher:     “Yes, today we were covering 20th century music & specifically 12-tone music.  Arnold Schoenberg was the composer that initially made that famous, so we covered him.  But I wanted to tie in something more contemporary, so Rick got me listening to John’s Meinetwegen (from his 1st Claudia Quintet CD) last night, so I played it for them today.  The kids thought it was SO cool that it was Jack’s uncle, & they were quite taken by the voices included in the tune!”

John’s response: “I wish I had a 7th Grade teacher who played me Schoenberg when I was starting out!” These kids get the benefit of them both.

If you have stories about your own intersections with John Hollenbeck’s music, be they spiritual, educational or other, do not hesitate to share! We are always listening…

 

French Engagements, New York Nights, And The Return Of JHLE 

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

20130306_171243

John ventures Franceward to join Ensemble Cairn “pour un projet qui confronte et associe musique écrite et musique improvisée, musique jazz et musique contemporaine.” Or, as we might say in English, a mindbending and ballerific evening. Ensemble Cairn specializes in what other folks might call difficult music. Spectral, post-spectral, improvisational collaborations, the works.

For this program JH has been invited to perform a brand new work commissioned by L’Ensemble, “The Commons,” based on (wait for it) The Commons framework. John et al. will also play a réorchestration of Rainbow Jimmies, initially commissioned for Bang on a Can, PLUS two works from What Is The Beautiful, including “Flock” and “Limpidity of Silences,” making its live premiere. To top it off, will also be joined for this performance by most excellent French saxophonist, Fred Gastard. Detailles ci-dessous. 

MARCH 8

Ensemble Cairn “Un Cairn à John Hollenbeck” @ Théâtre d’Orléans

Boulevard Pierre Ségelle, Orléans, 45002 (France) – Map

02 38 62 75 30  Set: 8:30 PM

All Ages

Tickets: 24 / 18

MARCH 9

Ensemble Cairn “Un Cairn à John Hollenbeck” @ Le Petit faucheux

12 rue Léonard de Vinci , Tours, 37000 (France) – Map

02 47 38 67 62  Set: 8:30 PM

All Ages

Tickets: 15 € / 12 € / 7 €

What heights of elegance could ever top these? Two words: Johnson City. In the beginning of April, it will be there in the Southern Tier, as well as in the zamboni-flat heartland of Columbus, OH, that John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble makes its triumphant return, joining Kate & Theo to perform Songs he Likes A Lot. Then, later in April, JH breaks away with Claudia Quintet for a luxurious 3-night engagement at The Cornelia Street Café in New York.

OH—and how could we forget? Claudia Quintet’s original formation reunites on March 23rd at Symphony Space, featuring alumni and faculty from Chris Speed & Matt Moran’s alma mater, New England Conservatory. They will there play a brief set with former CQ accordionist and NEC faculty member, Ted Reichman.

Details on all this and more may be found at JohnHollenbeck.com/Live

CAN’T MAKE IT LIVE?

We all are visited by reclusiveness. If unwilling or unable to see the Hollenmenschen live, we offer this as a decent substitute: Ringing out in high definition, it’s Claudia Quintet, live via Vimeo from Sunset in Paris. Courtesy of CitizenJazz point com, you can view these most excellent videos and catch the glory secondhand right here.

In a similar vein, you can download for portable listening this combination live performance/interview, courtesy Mr. Mark Hayes and his Passing Notes site, right here. Truly extensive, not to be missed.

REVIEWS, UNABATED

The love keeps a’flowing for Songs I Like A Lot, John’s latest album, now available for immediate purchase. Joining the choir of biggups is DownBeat’s Frank Alkyer, who selected the record as an Editors’ Pick, as well as emusic’s Dave Sumner, and—straight outta Irie—Mr. Cormac Larkin of the Irish Times.

Meanwhile our sizable German-fluent readership may enjoy this review of another Hollencollab, Shut Up and Dance, in the words of Mr. Sebastian Scotney (the English translation follows, in case you’re feeling rusty).

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

But what have you done for US lately? Sketched Mr. Hollenbeck mid-strike in charcoal and guache? No? Well at least one fellow has, and he threatens to put your fandom to shame with his efforts. His note to us, along with the masterwork he created, follow:

I am an artist from Bamberg, Germany. You played with your band in our town in the Jazzclub in the year 2009 and I made a portrait of you later with help from a photo I made this evening.

2010 I made a exhibition with different jazz musicians in our club, also with the one of you. I thought now, maybe you like it and so I send it to you as mail to look at it.

friendly greetings from Bamberg,

(Awesome Fan)

hollenportrait

FRIDAY FLUSH

Last but not least, we bring you this dispatch from The Department of Getting The Joke. We appreciate your appreciation, Ken®.

 

SONGS YOU’LL LIKE A LOT

 

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

**Songs I Like a Lot_CD Cover

 

Dear friends and lovers: The time is now. John Hollenbeck’s latest record, _Songs I Like A Lot_, has at last been released into the wild. John’s latest mad creation contains covers of songs by everyone from Ornette Coleman to Imogen Heap, and costars Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace, and The Frankfurt Radio Big Band, all stewing and steeping together as they chase down new angles on old favorites. You can buy it as a compact disc via BANDCAMP or as a very compact indeed digital-only download via iTUNES. The choice, power, and delight, are all yours!

Still reading, yet somehow still undecided? Luckily a few kind fellows have taken it upon themselves to vet the record on your behalf.

Cliff Belamy at the Herald Sun has already pre-Liked It Alot, as did Dan Deluca of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, who remarked that it was “another display of his great work with a large ensemble.” Meanwhile Jeff Simon at the Buffalo News unabashedly Loves It Alot; his review calls it, “quite simply, the most beautiful jazz disc I have heard in months.” He also deigns to call John a “percussionist and brilliant, wildly eclectic jazz composer and orchestra leader,” the last part of which conjured delightful images of John in white tie, tails and kid gloves, mugging like Bernstein and flailing drumstick-batons in arrhythmic time. For a true Extended Analysis you can read this article from John Kelman at AllAboutJazz, praising John’s “unerring ability to find good music in any corner, nook or cranny, turning it into something personal without ever losing what made it so good in the first place.”

The day is here, the time has come; the record can, nay, SHOULD be yours. Get down with Jimmy Webb like you’ve never got down with him before. Revisit the land of Pop with some drastically revisited Queen. Join the chorus of love and generally just have a ball. SONGS I LIKE A LOT awaits your ears eagerly.

THE FUTURE

With album in hand and appetite once again re-whet, you will inevitably wonder when next you can see the man himself. Well, wonder no more, and peep the following dates on the horizon:

Friday, February 1st at 8:00 PM
at Petit Faucheux in Tours, France
with JASS — Alban Darche, Samuel Blaser, Sebastien Boisseau and John Hollenbeck
 
Saturday, February 2nd at 7:30pm
Orchestre National de Jazz performing the program “Shut Up and Dance”
at the WDR 3 JazzFest in Cologne, Germany
WDR Funkhaus, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal
Details ici 
 
Sunday, February 3rd at 8pm
at “Kulturzentrum Dieselstrasse,” Esslingen, Germany
It’s time for Junk Box, feat.
Natsuki Tamura on trumpet,
Satoko Fujii at the piano, and 
John Hollenbeck on the hide-n’-metal beat bins
Details here 
 
Thursday, February 14th at 7:30pm
at the GRAND THÉÂTRE in Lorient, France
ONJ is back performing SUAD

On a more extracurricular note, John joins old friends uptown in New York; to wit—

 
Mar 2, 2013, 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
Columbia University, Miller Theatre in New York City
Fred Hersch‘s My Coma Dreams
 
…looking a bit further down the road, we see John, KateTheo, and JHLE Take Ohio to perform SONGS I LIKE A LOT live! 

Wednesday, April 3rd
Oberlin College

and

Thursday, April 4th 

at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University!

IT’S BEAT TIME IT’S HOP TIME IT’S MONK TIME

Last week Meredith Monk’s ecstatic new musical-theatre work, “On Behalf of Nature,” had its premiere at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA, and it looks deeply, entrancingly rad. Get thee to this glowing and enrapt review by Mark Swed of the LA Times, which, as a bonus, features a rare FULL BODY PHOTO of John mid-sway with his fellow Monk-ites. The verdict: “Mature and magnificent Monk.” We in the East and elsewhere await her new cuckoo eagerly.

Pre-Ordering The Future

(“the many reeds of the JHLE” — photo courtesy Mr. Jason Linnell)
TOP TEN TIMES
End-of-year listmaking is a (perhaps even THE) venerable tradition in American cultural criticism, occasioning as it does such a sweeping and easily-digested review of the preceding year’s highlights. “Remember that one!” we can all exclaim together. Or, perhaps, “Wow, was I living under a rock this year, avant-garde musical comedy-wise, or what?” End-of-year lists are the greatest.
Despite that his music tends to resist morsel-sized blurbing, John is of course no stranger to end-of-year lists. A couple of our favorites this time around:
In ARTFORUM, composer-pianist-standardbearer Jason Moran’s Top 10 Live Music Experiences (title mine), which deserves mention if only for taking its basis not in recorded music, but live performances he experienced. This is one of the coolest things we can learn about a musician we love: they like watching other cool musicians too. Case in point, JM was a big fan of JHLE’s performance at Newport this year, listing in #10, just a few spots down from none other than Azaelia Banks. Man of diverse tastes. You can peep that list in its entirety here.
Of course National Public Radio has no shortage of love for the Hollencrew, as evidenced in this year’s pick for vocal maestro Theo Bleckmann’s excellent reframing of Kate Bush tunes, “Hello Earth: The Music of Kate Bush”. You see that list, read a blurb on Theo’s latest (which features John on drums (who else?)), and even listen to a sampling of song, at NPR Music’s ever-more elegant site here.
UPCOMING ALBUM IS COMING UP—PRE-OWN IT.

In case you’ve been dozing on our previous installments, you’d best be aware that John’s latest record, Songs I Like A Lot, is fast on its way. The album contains a smattering of favorite music from Jimmy Webb, Ornette Coleman, Imogen Heap, Freddie Mercury, and others, all rearranged and scrambled by John. It features Frankfurt Radio BigBand, Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, and Gary Versace—and you can PRE-OWN it now.

That’s right, why wait for conventional in-the-moment ownership, not available until January, when you can fast forward into future tense and PRE-OWN the record today?
Pre-order the CD before release on January 29, 2013, and you’ll ALSO receive a digital download of the album on or around January 29. Not only that, but in the immediate term, you get a free download of “Canvas,” the Imogen Heap offering of the album. The link to do so is this familiar website here:  http://johnhollenbeck.bandcamp.com/album/songs-i-like-a-lot-2

What’s that you say? No more Compact Discs in your life? No worries, you can pre-order the digital-only version from iTunes here: http://bitly.com/12CmQy9
Cliff Bellamy has already (p)reviewed it for The Herald Sun, and, yes, you should be jealous he got to hear it. Not only did he dig the tunes, but his writeup bespeaks deepset access to the man himself, as it contains many nuggets of golden Hollinsight. Have yourself a click here, and glean some extra liner notes to tide you over as you enjoy the many benefits of pre-ownership.
EVERYTHING ELSE COMING UP TOO
John’s got a brand new piece for Gotham Wind Symphony being recorded on January 6th and 7th at an undisclosed (and many believe literally underground) location. It will be entitled “…Can’t Hide Love Mantra,” based on an Earth, Wind and Fire tune. Doesn’t that sound rad?
When he emerges, John will have a brief respite before lending his sticks to MEREDITH MONK: A Benefit for Roulette on January 10th. As the name suggests, John, MM, and others will band together to raise money for the excellent and weird-friendly Brooklyn venue Roulette. You can buy tickets at levels ranging from the patronly to the plebeian right here.  
Then, time for a brief jaunt over with the Tony Malaby Tuba Trio (yes) and many others at on January 12, to participate in Winter
Jazz Fest; you can buy tickets (and see who all else is playing) here.
Finally, across the country back nestled in Monkland, John joins the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble for the world premiere of On Behalf of Nature, Monk’s “latest evening-length work.” Performances are January 18-20 at UCLAbuy tickets today and then go fly West for Winter!
Last but not least: Don’t you want to look at JHLE’s tour pictures? I know I couldn’t make it to the tour, and maybe you coudln’t either. Have a look at some tour pictures, on us.

 

 

Touring, Treats, and Internal Workings

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

OUR FAVORITE THINGS: A NEW ALBUM

here once again is the cover of the new album by the Frankfurt Radio BigBand with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry & Gary Versace playing tunes and arrangements by John. cue: excitement.

as the name suggests, the record features personal arrangements of treasured gems by everyone from Ornette Coleman to Imogen Heap. how cool is that?

Cooler still: next week JHLE will shlep mightily thro’ the Eastern Seaboard, appearing with Theo and Kate & playing songs off the new record at shows in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Virginia and New York.

DETAILS!!!!

 and finally on December 10th

Hollenfriends of NYC and most notably, Brooklyn,  can join in at Roulette, see the band, support your local transdisciplinary new music performance center, and impress your children by going out on a monday night.

Tickets, info, and an array of elegant b&w photography can be found at their website here.

BUT FIRST: FRANCE

before we can see John here in America again, he first had to serve a grueling tour in such places as Paris and Caen. the latest from the front?

“there were awesome gigs with nice crowds!”

good to hear it, soldier. story goes they were even so bold as to try out a brand-spanking piece, “September 9th”
It’s the first in a series of un-notated tunes, learnt by rote, deftly digested and infinitely reconstituted.

John, again:

Because my music is usually not short or simple, learning it by rote is difficult.
What it means visually is NO MUSIC STANDS. Also the music will be IN us, so hopefully it will be more liquid after we get to know it.
How we actually learn the music is something that we are figuring out. But for the first attempt, we learned the piece a phrase at a time.
It is actually written down for posterity and in case we forget it, but during the learning process the guys did not want to see the music, they made their own notes to help them remember.

awesome.

THEY CALL HIM JET-PACK JOHN

Pre-empting the annual james bond marathon in greater brazil this week was the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival Internacional, starring john hollenbeck in two roles: conductor of the conservatory’s MANUEL DE FALLA BIG BAND and percussionist/bandleader, local killer quintet in tow, in a double bill with the KIRK LIGHTSEY TRÍO. As you can see from these photos it was no less a racy and suave affair than The Living Daylights.

WEB LINK ROUND UP

a blog supreme got that new compass and JH is on it.

also check out john’s recent interview with The Thread, released in two parts:

I. Stories about making music with Meredith Monk, plus a Theo Bleckmann origin story:

II. Good phrases for weird problems, like how to talk about genre, and why a large ensemble is not the same as a big band.

[Reader poll: what cardinal direction would John be? NNE? respond in the comments section below or mail your submissions to HQ]

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

nice-looking young men in black t-shirts play “ziggurat (interior)”

rad.

Gramophone Season (and Other Diversions)

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

As autumn’s taut chill nips amidst the tumbling leaves, quite naturally our thoughts turn once again to the Recording Academy Grammy Awards. And even though Grammy.com’s Gucci-sponsored countdown widget reminds us it’s still over 111 days away, now is the time when ye anointed few must elect Grammy’s nominees. So for all of you not privileged with Recording Industry Suffrage (and may be right now wondering aloud, “you mean they actually vote on these?”) bear with us while we stump for John’s latest greatnesses.

Up this year for your consideration: What is the Beautiful?, a lovely and imminently buyable record by Claudia Quintet + 1, as well as “What is the Beautiful?” which is (you guessed it) title track from that very album.

For further elaboration and gently kind super-nudging, we invite you visit this link from proud label-parent Cuneiform Records here.

Need we mention voting ends October 31st? Oh look, we just did!

—–

GIGGING AGAIN, WITH RECORDS TO BOOT

What, as if we’re surprised about this? And that there’s an album, too? For this you emailed your poor mother in the middle of the night? And why is it you only call when you need something?

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, Claudia Quintet goes charging through France, in Paris on November 11th, then in Caen on November 13th. Hit those links for tickets, information, and verifiable proof.

Now. This is the cover of the new album by Frankfurt Radio BigBand with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry & Gary Versace playing tunes and arrangements by John! Yes, it should indeed excite you.

In December, JHLE will sweep the Eastern Seaboard, appearing with Theo and Kate & playing songs off the new record at shows in New York, North Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. We’d like to call particular attention to this smashing night at Roulette in (of all places) Brooklyn. Tickets, info, and repeatable maxims all may be found at their website. FUN.

——-

ILLMATIC SPACE-REFINISHER TENNIS VIDEO MASHUP 

After exile to what was surely a gruesome 4 weeks of residence at Liguria Study Center, John has left behind two artifacts, etched into digital ink for us to steep in and contemplate.

The first, entitled “I’m a Lucky Girl,” details in photographs John and Lady Kate’s sartorial narrative throughout literally dozens of dinners for which they had to dress in fancy attire. Kate looks lovely, but it is the array of blazers and ties in play that truly impress on the eyeballs. See for yourself.

The second—well, better left to John to describe:

my studio was overlooking this awesome tennis court…..so after a few weeks I could not help myself….I came up with a serial system based on the tennis court itself…..then I applied it as a test to these three Jimmy Connors rallies.

So far so good!

The view from John’s studio

And the resulting video

For max enjoyment, do heed those instructions: As. Loud. As. Possible.

——

SPLIT SCREEN SOUND

We close this time, as we sometimes do, with audience participation: Three instruments and one man, at play in “The Snow is Deep on the Ground”, covered from CQ+1′s What is the Beautiful. Enjoy:

http://youtu.be/0gqewnxbnXU

 

Newport Memories, Shapeshifters, and Sweet 15

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

I chose to end the weekend on a quiet, if forceful note at the Harbor Stage: drummer John Hollenbeck’s augmented Claudia Quintet, which mixed the leader’s motoric rhythms and lyrical melodies with the love poetry of Kenneth Patchen. Theo Bleckman sang, and Kurt Elling — guesting after leading his own razzle-dazzle, foot-stomping set at the Quad — recited. Aside from Hollenbeck’s drums, the band included Matt Moran’s vibes, Red Wierenga’s accordion, Matt Mitchell’s piano, and Chris Speed’s clarinet and tenor sax. Patchen’s poems were funny and profane. The audience laughed and even grooved a bit. It was like some long-ago imaginary jazz café. And for a while at least, the music was good and the weather didn’t matter.

There it came, there it went. Another Newport Jazz Fest sailed through inclemency and delivered generous and beautiful music to the assembled masses. You can read more of Boston Phoenix’s Jon Garelick writing on the festival and thus find yourself nearly in his shoes. And if you happened to actually be there? Please, tell us about it! Leave a comment below, or email JohnHollenWebPR@gmail.com with your recollections and impressions from the afternoon John Came to Providence.

And now for some photos.

Photos credited to Mr. Hal S., who remarked that “With the pictures I took…you might guess one reason I was at Newport was to document everyone together”

…and while you are indulging telephotically, may we recommend you visit these lovely samplings from Claudia’s performance at Shapeshifter Lab. In addition to the always stimulating sight of CQ+1, you can see modern dance magicians Abigail Levine, Ellen

Fisher and their respective companies also in motion. Check out these photos, courtesy of Dave Kaufman, here.

John Hollenbeck, you just finished a multi-band, multi-season, multi-nation tour, culminating in America’s greatest Jazz gathering. What are you going to do now?

His answer?

10 day silence.  No phone, internet, paper, pen, books and no communication—definitely my idea of ideal!. It was a meditation retreat I just came from.

Vipassana meditation, check out……dhamma.org

 

There you have it. Deliberate, thoroughgoing remove from the world at large and an outstanding inwards turn. Not quite “I’m going to Disneyland!”…Unless you’re John. Something to ponder as we flit from screen to screen in search of freedom…

BREAKING:

John would like to congratulate and wish mighty luck to Juilian Külpmann and Martin Krümmling, one current and one former student, both recently announced as semifinalists for the 2012 Monk Competition. The competition focuses each year on a different instrument and this year will give awards for excellence in Drums and Composers (something about which all involved know much). Out of 12 semifinalists, Juilian & Martin are the only two from Germany.

Viel Erfolg!

Did you know this year Claudia Quintet will be 15 years old? So far CQ seems to be managing puberty pretty well. The zits have been few, the growth spurts spastic and marvelous, and the change in voice moves ever-deeper with nary a squeak to be heard.

To celebrate turning 15, John has decided that starting in September he will be releasing for download one cut every month from his extensive library of live Claudia gigs. As anyone who’s seen them knows, this means the chance to own (and listen to, and re-listen to) a familiar yet strikingly parallel sonic experience that will augment and enrich any Claudia fan’s library of Hollensound.

 

Watch this space.

We conclude with a link for an interview John recently gave to The Voice Magazine, A Publication of the Athabasca University Students’ Union. More insight into the man and his process, not to mention proof positive that greatness does not discriminate in its generosity of attention, whether on Alberta’s Voice Magazine or Manhattan’s Village Voice…

Check it out; go in peace.

Newport Nears + DownBeat Poll 77

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.

All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

Newport is Even More Nigh Now

Preferably you have already made arrangements to rid yourself of material possessions and join Claudia Quintet+1 on the waters of NewportAugust 5th is the day, Rhode Island is the place. For those still fence perching, do the next right thing & click here. Therein are tickets to a place you’ll want to be—trust us. And, in a grand gesture of halfway meeting, the Jazz Fest Fabricators have arranged a free sampling of CQ+1 be made available to whet all appetites. Enter brief info & you may sample it here.

Of course if for some unspeakable reason your attendance is impossible? Well. We will survive, but then there’s the matter of you. In these dire cases, the best backup comes from that other crucial machine: your computer. Once again the indefatigable Jazz team at NPR Music has arranged wall-to-wall coverage of Newport, including audio-visual-twitter coverage all throughout the field of play. Learn all about your next best alternative here.

Non-Stop John

Incorrigibly, John has somehow managed to entangle himself in yet another cool band-project-album-experience. This one is titled JASS, after its members: John, Alban (Darche), Samuel (Blaser) and Sébastien (Boisseau). Visit this page to learn more—even if you’re nonfluent in French, there’s still some outstanding samples to savor. And for the super-visually inclined, you can watch the band in action at cette YouTube clip ici.

In similar news: There is a brand new record is out by Blind Date Quartet on JH’s GPE Records label. (Yes. Man has a record label as well. Be jealous.) It features Angelika Sheridan (flutes), Ulrike Stortz (violin), Scott Roller (cello) and, just for good measure, John Hollenbeck on percussion. You can taste and indeed even purchase that record here.

Lastly, John has been commissioned by Ensemble Cairn to write new music and, naturally, perform with them in Spring 2013. Details forthcoming, excitement immediate.

The DownBeat 77th Annual Readers Poll 

And now, a message.

Every year since the dawn of Jazz press as we know it (roughly 1936, we’re told) the magistrates of DownBeat set out to take the national temperature on Who is the Best at Jazz. Now in 2012 the year’s categories simply runneth over with John Hollenbeck-related projects. Indeed John is nominated in no fewer than SIX different times, including for

Jazz Group - Claudia Quintet

Big Band -John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble

Composer- John Hollenbeck

Arranger - John Hollenbeck

Jazz Artist of the Year - John Hollenbeck

Jazz Album of the Year - What Is The Beautiful – Claudia Quintet + 1 feat. Kurt Elling & Theo Bleckmann (Cuneiform)

Fellow beloved Hollenfans, the time has come to do your part & tell the DownBeaters what is What. Say I: VOTE HOLLENBECK. Has not John Hollenbeck lead the way for all of us to demolish genre boundaries and reanimate our deepest and strangest insides? Does not John Hollenbeck bring together so many wonderfully varied flavors with each new project, album or band? Will not John Hollenbeck play transportedly, ferociously, religiously near-end vision-stricken eye-of-the-tiger drums for you every single time he sets foot to stage and hands on sticks? He has, he does, he will.

Vote Hollenbeck. Do it for the future of Jazz. Do it for the demolition of Jazz. Do it for the spiritual descendants of Kenneth Patchen and the musical descendants of Bob Brookmeyer. Do it for every child yet to write music who will someday record an album titled after plumbing or breakfast. Hollenbeck is our man; we owe it to him to show our support.

Visit this site, cough up a name & email (disposable options abound should you prefer) and then please, do vote. Tell DownBeat just What, in 2012, is What. Thank you.

Shapeshifters, Newport, and the Return of Pat

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.

All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

John is on

Fear not New Yorkers! After what feels like eons away, John returns!

On July 27th, John will reappear in (or is it from?!) the depths of Gowanus at The Shapeshifter. There he will be joined by The Claudia Quintet PLUS Mr. Matt Mitchell (Claudia’s perpetual plus one). NOT ONLY THAT, but in a special rare bonus configuration, John teams up with Gary Versace and John Hebert to form Triple Dutch Unit. Holla!

Then, on July 28th, he rises again! And with all the same players PLUS Ralph Alessi’s Modular Theatre, featuring Drew Gress, Loren Stillman, Tyshawn Sorey and Will Jennings!

And as if that completely gills-packed lineup WASN’T ENOUGH, CQ will both nights be joined by modern danseuses extraordinaires Ellen Fisher, Irene Hultman, Storme Sundberg , and Abby Levine! Mortel!

Details and ticket sales may be found at this very clickable link here.

Newport is nigh

The time has come, thou Hollenfans, to descend like English exiles onto Newport, RI. The occassion by now ought be plain: The 69th annual Newport Jazz Festival! As we’ve graciously made clear in the past John Hollenbeck stops at nothing to bring his gospel to Newport. Therefore, as humble followers, neither should we stop at anything to witness it, for this year’s word shall be triumphant indeed!

Astride yon Harbor Stage, on August 5th, at the stroke of 4:40pmClaudia Quintet + 1 will loose sweet revelation upon the assembled crowds. Joining them to set tarnation ablaze will be Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann, whose voices shall carry the word of the great Kenneth Patchen. Immediately following, John & al. will unmoor the harbor stage from the watery gates of Newport and sail away to redemption!

Join us! The time is now, fellow flock. Leave behind possessions of this Earth. Your job, your pets, and, if they won’t cooperate, even your children, all may be cast aside as you embark on a renewed life at Newport. Come be free and bask in the light of awakening and glittering shellfish.

Tickets, info, and the first steps to salvation may all be found here. (And for all you seeking to rid yourselves of possession before departure, we can assist in that process as well.)

Pat is back

We are pleased to report that Pat Hollenbeck, John’s brother and fellow percussionist-in-arms, has made a triumphant comeback following a debilitating stroke and resumed his place as percussionist for the Boston Pops! His first official gig since recovery was on July 4th, playing the Pops’ annual Independence Day gig on the Esplanade. To see Pat in action (and witness the unmistakable family genes embodied by another) check out this video (Pat’s segment is at 2:32)

Gress undressed 

As a treat for all our adoring music comp nerds (geeks? wizards? mages?) we leave you with link to two transcriptions of Drew Gress music and a sweet vintage Claudia Song, courtesy of The Aimless Rambler. Decoct, replay, recompose and enjoy!

Undead Rises Again!

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right.

All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Newly classic alt-alternative bonanza UNDEAD MUSIC FESTIVAL rises in New York again next week. Appearing on three outta four festival nights will be JH himself, each time in a different and rare configuration. To wit:

ON WEDNESDAY MAY 9 at LE POISSON ROUGE in MANHATTAN: A TONIC Reunion show!

(Curated by Melissa Caruso Scott & John Scott)

Disbanded bands reconvene for a night to commemorate a venue still remembered fondly for its fearlessness and dedication to the freeform ethos. John will be appearing alongside his erstwhile bandmates from the golden 90’s, Ted Reichman & Reuben Radding. Together, they are: The Refuseniks!

For a list of others slated to appear and to buy your tickets, cliquez ICI

ON FRIDAY, MAY 11, 8:00 PM at IBEAM in GOWANUS: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DIY

(Hosted by Search and Restore, it’s a night celebrating artist run – DIY spaces around the country)

Appearing at 11 pm: The Drum Major Instinct

with

John Hollenbeck – Drums / Composition

Brian Drye – Trombone

Curtis Hasselbring – Trombone

Jacob Garchik – Trombone

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — Vocals

$10 suggested donation. To read more about the evening’s festivities at IBEAM and elsewhere, click HERE

ON SATURDAY, MAY 12: IMPROVISED ROUND ROBIN DUETS

Madness!

17 artists enter, arranged in a random order. Artist #1 improvises for 5 minutes solo on stage, and is then joined by #2. After 5 more minutes, #3 enters, and #1 leaves—AND SO ON!

What can happen? What will happen, that’s what.

Slated to appear:

Mark Helias (bass), Brandon Seabrook (banjo / guitar), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Allison Miller (drums), Amir Ziv (drums), Mike Pride (drums), Bob Stewart (tuba), Cooper Moore (piano), Miles Okazaki (guitar), Marika Hughes (cello), John Hollenbeck (drums), Matthew Mottel (keys), Fabian Almazan (piano)…and more to be announced!

A festival pass gains you free entry to this event. Tickets and clues available HERE

Want to get even excited-er about UNDEAD and its musical legionnaires? Check out the premiere episode of Search & Restore’s Spontaneous Construction podcast.

In it, Search & Restore founder Adam Schatz talks with drummers John Hollenbeck (Claudia Quintet) and Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, GDFX) about improvisation, creation and world domination. They converse convivially and even play together! Not 2b missed.

The Refuseniks and me (A Hollenbeck Origin Story)

 

Did we just pull a fast one with this crazed torrent of dates and players? No so fast, say you, our astute reader. WHO, you no doubt would like us to stop and tell you, are the Refusenik’s?

In the words of John:

1995-1996 was an important period for me, in retrospect, I feel like I arrived at a place that felt like “home” musically-speaking. I finally found the beginnings of a personal voice on the drums and in composition. One of the main reasons I arrived at this place was my association with the Refuseniks, a collective trio with Ted Reichman and Reuben Radding. We played every Monday night at alt.coffee, a grungy internet cafe on Avenue A. Playing with those guys helped me realize who I was, who I wanted to be, as a player. Both Ted and Reuben were totally open and willing to play music that did not fit any one genre. We quickly developed a very eclectic repertoire….Charlie Haden, folk music from Norway, Turkey, Sun Ra, plus originals…. I was trying hard to compose, so it was great that these guys were open to playing my originals, including pieces with “catchy” titles like Abstinence and Diane Hull.

I also met a lot of great musicians through the gig and through Ted and Reuben, who were both more in the “Knitting Factory” scene. Important musicians such as Anthony Coleman, Greg Cohen, David Krakauer, Frank London.

When Reuben abruptly quit music in the summer of 1996 and moved to Montana, I formed The Claudia Quintet with Ted as the anchor member.

Ted by the way, is a talented  writer, you can read his version of this story here.

Doris Duke Calling

Frequent listeners of public radio and others well-versed in American higher culture will be instantly familiar with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The DDCF is the ongoing legacy of Doris Duke, relentless philanthropist and lifelong nonconformist, who was an early adopter of surfing, modern dance, and free jazz, and who started her first charitable foundation at age 21. This year DDCF has named its first class of Doris Duke Artists, 21 American performers given unrestricted cash grants so that they may continue to create art freely—and guess who made the inaugural cut?

That’s right, it’s been officially announced and now it can be told: John Hollenbeck, along with colleagues & friends Vijay Iyer & Meredith Monk, will now be among those calling DD their posthumous sugar mama.

And not a second too soon! For as it happens John & his fellow DDA recipient Bill Frisell were just in the midst of heated soul-for-cash negotiations with Guzzler Corp., a multinational powerhouse specializing in the export of crude oil effluent to low-income playgrounds around the world. Thanks to the DDCF and the late Doris Duke, John and artists like him needn’t mortgage their eternal spirit to make ends meet.

Bravo John! Bravo Bill! Bravo all!

You can read a lot more about the DDA program, including a list of its other outstanding recipients here

Karlssonwilker

Starting with 2001’s No Images, John basically hasn’t stopped getting super-acclaimed graphic design dudes Karlssonwilker to make his albums look cool. Since then he’s employed mssrs Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker no fewer than nine times, most recently on CQ’s unapologetically awesome cover for What is the Beautiful?, which features the art of Kenneth Patchen reconfigured in a manner you should really just go look at, trust me.

How JH & KW have not grown coldly distant over the course of what in album design years basically constitutes lifelong marriage, none of us know. Whatever the secret of their longevity as a couple, the union is strong, and now with Karlssonwilker’s brand new website, their work’s whole flow can be viewed left-to-right, now-to-then, all on one screen—including the ill Kenneth Patchen 3D painting thing, which I defy you to describe in words better than it looks, it’s so cool.

Check out all the awesome work Karlssonwilker has done for John on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

Return of the Hollentour Digital Scrapbook Archives

First, a reminder

A memorial approaches for valve trombonist/composer/arranger Bob Brookmeyer (December 19,1929-December 15, 2011).

It will be held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (E. 54th St. between 3rd and Lexington Avenues) in New York City on Wednesday, April 11, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.  A reception will follow immediately afterward at the church.

That evening, Bob’s music will be played by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (for which he wrote for over forty years) and two specially-assembled smaller groups.  There will also be a number of distinguished speakers: (in alphabetical order) Darcy James Argue, Greg Bahora, Dave Bailey, Bill Crow, Ed Dix, Jim Hall, Bill Kirchner, Jim McNeely, Dick Oatts, Jimmy Owens, John Snyder, Michael Stephans, and Terry Teachout.  In addition, there will be an audio tribute by Clark Terry, and a video presentation by Maria Schneider, Ryan Truesdell, and Marie Le Claire.

In other newsin other languages We here at the global hollenbeck resource center invite any who may speak German to interpret this fan bloggage from Germany or those of you versed in Italian to translate this 5 stelle review of WITB? in All About Jazz Italia. Both are positive…we suspect.

Have you encountered exuberant press in non-English tongues? Let us know! We’re creating a whole compendium of global emoting as we seek to get Hollenmania formally certified as a transnational epidemic.

And now, an excerpt from the Diary of John

March 26

“Grüss Grott” from Graz,

I’m in the 2nd week of my residency here at the Kunst University Graz Jazz-the oldest Jazz department in Europe!

I first started coming to Graz over 10 years ago, to play in Jazz Big Band Graz, a region sponsored band….so I know the city well.

A few fun facts…..

1)From an English speaking point of view, there is a remarkable resemblance to Elmer Fudd’s dialect and the dialect from the Graz region (called Styria).

2)Graz is a UNESCO City of Design-it boasts some exquisitely modern buildings, such as the Kunsthaus and the Murinsel.

3)The region is well known for it’s high quality food (even on the autobahn rest stops), wine, chocolate and pumpkin seed oil (it is actually more like squash, but pumpkin sounds better).

The jazz school has a nice mix of international students with the largest concentration from the surrounding countries which creates a vibrant, unique environment.  Some old friends of mine are on the faculty like Ed Partyka, Ed Neumeister, Dena Derose, among others.

For this residency I’m privately teaching drums, compositions, leading workshop in drums, composition and the all-important “quarter note exercise” giving 3 concerts. I brought the Claudia Quintet here last week. This week I’m playing my music with the “Composers Ensemble” and at the beginning of May I’m coming back to play my music with the very large KUG Big Band (at the last rehearsal I counted 24 members!) who have already started working on some of my most challenging pieces.

Ok, back to the food….one of my favorite restaurants, Mangolds, is in the heart of Graz. I try to go there at least once a day. It has the greatest, biggest salad bar (and they do salad in their own incredible way in the Graz region!)

It is buffet style, so the food is fast and it is relatively cheap! If you are in Graz at mid-day, you must check it out!

John

Pix below of kunsthaus

and Murinsel

-
Thanks, John!
Wish you were there alongside John & Co. romping around Europe? Let us take you back in time and out of space with…
Sweet Pix From Bad Hofgastein: A Very Hollenbeck Romp in photos 
CQ in bad hofgastein

John checking out the Mel Lewis plaque at Burghausen’s Jazz Walk of Fame
(a special edition of JHLE, with an imbedded Claudia Quintet plus 4 great German cats!—-Oli Leicht, Christian Jakso, Gunter Bollman, Axel Schosser)

nuff said
snowjazz
John and Billy Hart love fest in Burghausen, Germany 
Drew and Kate after their re-creation of the classic Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs match
oh, that is gonna be a winner!

In conclusion: Claudia after our expedition to the secondhand store in downtown Fullerton, CA

Look for this on the cover of the next GQ magazine or actually CQ magazine!

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Tinker Tailor Soldier Hollenbeck (or: A Small Ensemble in Germany)

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

to: TRANS-EURO CO-INTEL OPS 8

from: USA PRE-INTEL GR4

re: TARGET: HOLLENBECK

Provided below is a comprehensive outline of times, locations, and costs of entry for the European tour of target groups CLAUDIA QUINTET and JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE. This highly sensitive data provides specific detail as to the planned whereabouts of target JOHN HOLLENBECK and his cohort, including THEO BLECKMANN and other suspected members of target sub-group CLAUDIA QUINTET PLUS ONE.

Following repeated near-apprehensions of JOHN HOLLENBECK throughout the coastal USA, we have finally obtained the below advance reconnaissance and expect to be achieving full apprehension by late March, if not sooner.

In order to ensure our objective is met, apprehension teams should be dispatched to each of the below time-locations maximally armed. As you already know, JOHN HOLLENBECK along with CLAUDIA QUINTET PLUS ONE are as dangerous as they are elusive, and should by no means be underestimated.

Further preparatory intel may be obtained at RIVERFRONT TIMES BLOG as well as at LAWEEKLY TIMES SOUND BLOG. From the latter, re target THEO BLECKMANN:

Bleckmann is an amazing vocalist, something like a German Bobby McFerrin minus the body drumming. He is capable of filling a hall with sounds both soothing and guttural. In the context of his set with the Claudia Quintet, he worked exclusively as a team player, working wonders to create a cohesive band sound, blending in with their unusual instrumentation perfectly

Good luck & godspeed.

Monday, March 12, 2012 Claudia Quintet with special guest Theo Bleckmann @ Stadtgarten Venloerstr. 40, Köln, (Germany) - Set: 8:30 PM All Ages Tickets: VVK: 12,00€; AK: 15,00€

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 Claudia Quintet with special guest Theo Bleckmann @ Dexter Vindegade 65, Odense, (Denmark) 4563112728 Set: 8:00 PM All Ages Tickets: Forsalg: DKK 100 Medlemspris: DKK 60 Dørsalgspris: DKK 120

Thursday, March 15, 2012 Claudia Quintet with special guest Theo Bleckmann @ DE WERF Werfstraat 108, Brugge, 8000 (Belgium) – 050 33 05 29 Set: 8:30 PM All Ages Tickets: 15 / 12 / 7

Friday, March 16, 2012 Claudia Quintet with special guest Theo Bleckmann @ Birdland Neuburg Am Karlsplatz A 52, Neuburg, 86633 (Germany) -049 (0) 84 31 4 12 33 Set: 8:30 PM All Ages

Saturday, March 17, 2012 John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble @ Jazzwoche Burghausen 2012 Am Stadtplatz, Burghausen, 84489 (Germany) – Set: 8:00 PM All Ages

Sunday, March 18, 2012 The Claudia Quintet @ Sägewerk Angerweg 32, Bad Hofgastein, 5630 (Austria) – 06432 6164 Set: 8:30 PM All Ages

Monday, March 19, 2012 The Claudia Quintet @ WIST – Kunst Uni Graz Moserhofgasse, Graz, (Austria) - 043 (316) 389-3080 Set: 8:00 PM All Ages Tickets : 15,–/7,–


These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

ATTENTION BAY AREA COMPOSERS

On February 26th Berkeley’s Jazz School for Music Study & Performance will be hosting a special three hour composition workshop with none other than John Hollenbeck himself. This is a rare opportunity to peer inside the technical and creative gearbox of a man whose work routinely big bangs microgenres and improvisatorial playgrounds. To paraphrase the School’s invitation, all musicians with a rudimentary knowledge of music theory are invited to have their minds scholastically blown. Participants can bring pieces that they have started and come away with forty new beginnings. John will also discuss and his use some of his compositions as examples—truly exciting since most of his works are written in multicolored glass sand! Information of all sorts is available here.

MORE CQ GIGS REMAIN

Forget not those shows still un-attended! The hour of Claudia Quintet gig-going is already nigh, y’all!

February 27, Yoshi’s, San Francisco, CA

February 28, Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

February 29, Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, CA

March 1 (with Theo Bleckmann Duo & the CSUF Jazz Ensembles), Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, CA

March 2, 560 Music Center, St. Louis, MO

Why, what better place than these to grab your very own 100% free

STICKERS

SWEET.

If they can make it out of St. Louis alive, Claudia then continues on to Europe! Details to follow so keep eyes peeled here. For max appetite-whetting, check out this review of a recent JHLE performance at Amherst College…(scroll down to February 19th post)

DOWNBEAT

Another treat: There is an extensive article on and interview with John in the latest issue of Downbeat. Check out what else is inside and learn where you might obtain your own copy here.

MEREDITH MONK REMIXED

Right? How cool is that? What’s that? “Extremely”? Correct! Two discs. Many great reinventions. I mean DJ Spooky. Todd Reynolds. Vijay Iyer. Lee Ranaldo. Nico Mulhy. Effing Bjork! (And why not? Is not MM her spiritual mother, after all?) Double-effing Caetano Veloso! Yes, that Caetano Veloso! Quão maravilhoso. Longtime apostles John & Theo appear as well, with “Wheel”. Seals the deal, don’t it? Indulge in a sampling of songs

POLL POSITIONS 

Alternative Music webmag El Instruso (“Dedicado a ‘la otra música’”) has released its 2011 critics poll and neither one nor two but fully three Hollenprojects graced the top rankings. Claudia Quinet was rated #2 Group of the Year, JHLE, #3 Best Live Band, and John himself, #3 Best Composer. To review the other findings, brush up on your arthouse Spanish, and initiate a letter-writing campaign to the many who weighed in, visit this page here.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Nightlife / Left Coast / Management

Last night at NYC’s inauspiciously-named Town Hall, John Hollenbeck was named the 2011 Nightlife Award recipient for Outstanding Group. The event was hosted by super-progeny Lucie Arnaz and presented awards to such fine standard-bearers as Jon Hendricks and Randy Weston. John, who was in the midst of leading a caravan of rescued dromedaries from Paris to Berlin, was unable to attend. He is, however, grateful for the support & recognition of the Nightlifers, although this chronicler finds himself asking—which Outstanding Group?

The mighty John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble assembles at Amherst College on February 18th. This gathering will not only feature a concert performance but also pre-performance Talk, whereupon John & al. will tell ALL. Tickets available through the link above or private collegiate channels of your own devising.

CQ+1 takes California for a spin next month, with a fine hat-tip stop in St. Louis. West Coast Hollenfans best mark calendars as such:

February 27, Yoshi’s, San Francisco, CA

February 28, Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA

February 29, Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, CA

March 1 (with Theo Bleckmann Duo & the CSUF Jazz Ensembles), Cal State Fullerton New Music Festival, CA

March 2, 560 Music Center, St. Louis, MO

Thereafter in March both CQ & JHLE will embark for additional gigging in Europe. Additional details and secret messages will be relayed as soon as they’re available.

Our Team is proud to announce the arrival of a brand new Manager for John: Mr. Steve Cohen. No longer must John manage his own self; now Steve, President of Music + Art Management, Inc. and likewise manager to such artists as Vijay Iyer and DJ Spooky, will be there to manage John’s self for him. Steve, a storied musician-teacher-businessmaker, is joined in managing by Lauren Snelling, who  has worked as Artistic Associate at the Park Avenue Armory and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, as well as Associate Producer at Westbeth.

The arrangement began when Steve and Lauren were rescued by John from an invisible quicksand farm in the deep South. Forever indebted to John—and to Theo, whose deep blue threnodies played a key role by distracting the renegade quicksand farmers—they made the pledge of the modern samurai: managership.

All involved are pleased and proud.

We leave you with this sweet blog post gleefully geeking out to CQ’s “This Too Shall Pass,” a “hard-grooving lament”..

Leaks, Live Scenes, and Love

LEAKS:

John Hollenbeck was really hoping he could just record What Is The Beautiful? quietly and with a minimum of notice. In addition to diligent precautions taken to avoid being followed to and from the studio, John made all bandmates and recording personnel take a salty blood oath they’d never again speak of the album or dare let slip the finished product to anyone outside of Silver Spring, MD. Unfortunately, as we all know, the album was nefariously leaked and subsequently written about, extensively.

Among the many secret-breaking journos who weighed in were The New York Times, Los Angeles Times,Washington City Paper, New York City Jazz Record, AllAboutJazz.com, BBC.co.uk, Audiophile Audition,Rochester City NewspaperAvant Music NewsThe Gig and Jazz After Hours. Further shattering the wall of secrecy were those who audaciously named WITB? to their year-end lists, including JazzTImes, New York TImes, All About Jazz.comRock Erie.comThe Big City Blog, Step Tempest, Capital New Yorkand even more too nefarious to list. How word really got out, we’ll never know, but rest assured John will be recording What Is the Beautiful 2: What’s Really Beautiful underground, or possibly under the sea.

LIVE SCENES:
Today will be the last day of University of Rochester’s outstanding Kenneth Patchen exhibition, U of R’s on-the-ground analog to the Patchen-inspired album they commissioned. Upstate locals, consider gathering friends & family for a field trip. Also tonight: John joins chief vocalizer Theo Bleckmann to perform at Lincoln Center Atrium; New Yorkers ought likewise gather compats in arms and overtake the Center (it’s free!). Then on Friday at 8:15pm John joins Pete Robbins, Simon Jermyn, Oscar Noriega and Ches Smith for the Winter Jazz Festival. Visit their website for tickets and further details. Topping off the week, Claudia Quintet returns to the Cornelia Street Café in the West Village for one and one set only this Saturday at 8pm. They’ll appear in original 5-man formation to mark their 15th year together as genre-deflectors extraordinaires, and hope sincerely you’ll join them. Hit that link or telephone 212/989-9815 to make the recommended reservations.

LOVE:
And now, a special note to our friends who received gift cards for the holidays:
All of us know well the feeling of receiving the gift that is as flexible as it is thoughtful: the gift card. Like nothing else, the gift card says “I’ve figured out what general type of consumer good you’d enjoy, but have not burdened you unduly with the specifics. Instead of choosing a gift I can’t be totally certain you’ll love, I’ll just provide this narrowly allocated strip of electromoney and let you decide yourself.”  It is with these gift-givers in mind that we here at Team Hollenbeck have come forth to complete the thought process: If you’ve already been gifted a gift card, why not spend your plastic dollars on John & Co. this winter? Complete the gift your favorite givers were just going to give you anyways: Claudia Quintet, JHLE, ONJ—From which John’s “Falling Men” was just nominated for a Grammy—all our projects and friends can be found on iTunes and Amazon.

Lastly, we invite you to share in a Hollenbeck composition of a different kind. Last month John’s longtime mentor & friend Bob Brookmeyer passed away at the age of 81. Please read here John’s elegy for the veteran master, a loving and deeply personal portrait of a legendary man bound to be long missed.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Madly missing you

December 17th 6:22am

 

As I sit down to write something about how much Bob Brookmeyer has touched my life and to share my memories of him, I have to put on some of his music. So much to choose from…perhaps Dreams (oh those chords!), but I choose Holiday: the 2007 Bob Brookmeyer piano trio record. I start with Jan Likes – you will notice many references to Jan in his titles. (Jan is the angel that Bob was lucky enough to find and be married to for the last 24 years – his beautiful cornerstone.) Bob on piano was always a special treat. If I had the knack that Bob had to say exactly what I think, I could describe this as what Keith Jarrett would sound like if he had partied harder. (I’m a slow writer so now I’m already on to the next track, Stupid Song-awesome title!)

 

I first met Bob at the SUNY Binghamton Summer Jazz Workshop when I was 14. I had an emergency appendectomy just a few days before, but with clearance from doctors and my parents, I was at least able to watch the workshops and some of the nightly concerts that Bob’s sextet gave. What a great group this was: Adam Nussbaum, Michael Moore, Jim McNeely, Dick Oatts, and Joe Lovano – I still have my bootleg cassettes. This is the first time I was honored to (I’m on to Child Song now) hear the “Brookmeyer sound”. That warm, huge, enveloping sound – it is identifiable after just a few seconds. And those lines of his, sometimes officially “outside”, but Bob worked hard at believing in them, so they actually sounded “inside”. Most of these tunes are on Through a Looking Glass – you may only be able to find this on vinyl at this point, but it is worth the hunt. I love these tunes. Mel especially sounds inspired!

 

I remember hearing Hello and Goodbye for the first time, played by the SUNY workshop participants during the day – one of those great Bob pieces that goes through many different moods but maintains an organic thread. At that time, it was being decided for me by some unknown force that I was going to be a professional musician. And there was Bob: showing me what music was about, what sound was about, what swing, creativity, and forward motion were about. Forward motion! Bob never stopped trying to move forward musically-speaking. Sometimes when he would meet up with fellow musicians his own age, they would show their confusion with this aspect of Bob. As in Al Porcino’s famous comment after hearing some of Bob’s modern big band music: “Bobby! What happened?” It was this constant striving to move outside the standard jazz box that was truly inspiring.

 

The next time I saw Bob was at the Eastman School of Music, I was 18. We played the music from the record, Dreams. I actually played percussion on that concert and brought out a washtub to add its special sound to his music – instead of thinking a washtub was too strange an instrument like you might expect from an older composer, Bob was totally into it. I also remember him explaining what the groove on one of his tunes should be. We were expecting to hear him say the usual “straight eighth” or “triplet feel” – instead he sang the subdivisions “ZOO-BA DO-BA, ZOO-BA DO-BA” and said “Like that”! Needless to say, that groove explanation was a topic of conversation and laughter for years after that!

 

(I’m on to It Might as Well be Spring. Bob playing or arranging standards is always special. He obviously knew them really well and in many cases had arranged them earlier in his years, so when he took a standard and put his genius on it later on in his career, it is simply awe-inspiring.)

 

Bob gave some very thoughtful workshops at Eastman and his bubbling creativity was contagious. At some point, he sat at the piano and played simple intervals and encouraged us to listen closely, intently, in order to truly figure out what the intervals feel like and what images come to mind when hearing them. This experience can greatly help a composer looking for a specific feeling or emotional quality. He asked us what we dreamed about doing and he told us what he dreamed about doing. I remember he wanted to do a theater piece with jazz musicians where he would engage the audience from the moment they walked into the theater lobby…and it would seem magical and spontaneous. At that time, he was still thinking about how fun it could be to make the listener uncomfortable, to engage them in a way that would jolt them out of the daily grind.

 

My next encounter was four years later, as an applicant to his World School of Jazz in Rotterdam. The plan for this school was to run it as a long-term workshop with short-term guest teachers. I was accepted, but the school never got off the ground – this was a big disappointment for Bob and hugely missed opportunity for the world jazz community. Two good things for me that came out of this disappointment was that Bob and Jan moved back to the US, and Bob heard me play the drums for the first time on my audition tape. (I’m switching now to New Love from Spirit Music. I love the way Nils van Haften sounds on this…such a warm, rich sound.)

 

A year or two later, I applied for and got what ended up being the last round of NEA study grants to study composition with Bob. I only took about four or five lessons, but those were the most important lessons of my life. The exercises we worked on and the basic idea of “cellular” composition (basing a piece on one idea) are the cornerstones of my technique. I’m still working on some of the pieces I started in this creative period that were sparked by Bob’s assignments. I did most of the assignments incorrectly, but usually something good came from my mistakes, so we both found the value in what we were doing. I drove up to New Hampshire for the lessons – Bob and Jan graciously invited me into their home and Jan cooked up some great food, although Bob was really only interested in dessert!

 

(Now I’m listening to Ding Dong Ding - Mel Lewis and Bob Brookmeyer! I have to stop writing and just listen to that one. That is the first time that song made me cry, that’s for sure.)

 

The song on my audition tape that got Bob interested in my drumming was a hip hoppy groove that I played on Freedom Jazz Dance. There was something in this groove that Bob liked, it was swinging but in a “new” way. He later told me that this led him to ask me to be the drummer in what became his New Art Orchestra (NAO) in 1996. NAO evolved out of The Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Big Band, which was initially run through the auspices of this northern Germany Festival. We performed as the S-H MF Big Band at the Festival and in subsequent years, we’d get on a bus afterwards and head out to perform in other cities as the New Art Orchestra. Bob used to joke that once we drove far enough out of town, it was time to change the sign on the bus to the “New Art Orchestra”. (I’m now on to Silver Lining from Spirit Music. Bob takes some great breaks in this one!)

 

From the beginning, Bob taught NAO how to be a band. He had this educational talent that is unique, mainly due to his exhaustive experience and dedication. His musical life was a personal trip through jazz history. We worked persistently on sound, phrasing, and ensemble-playing. He told me, as the drummer, what he loved about Mel and Elvin too, but mostly Mel, the drummer/magician who had the unique gift to make a band sound great with grace and coolness. But he also said: Do not even bother trying to copy, because no matter how close you get, you will never be Mel. But knowing what Mel did that Bob loved was extremely helpful. He told me to play with perceived abandon while never forgetting about the groove or setting up the band, but making it all sound like a happy coincidence. He always wanted a lot of activity on the snare drum so that the band could always feel the beat. Cracking the code on how to play drums in a big band is what I imagine learning to drive an 18-wheeler is like. Bob coached me for years until I got to the point where I could easily conjure his advice in my head and integrate it as I was playing.

 

The New Art Orchestra meant a lot not only to the players, but also to Bob – to have a band of young, enthusiastic people who loved him and listened intently to every word he said was a gift that Bob sincerely appreciated and he told us this often. We learned so much about music and how to make exceptional music with a large group of people. At present, about half of the band are permanent members of radio big bands. These are some of the best bands in the world, but when we come back together as the NAO, we realize this band has a unique sound, an integrated, warm sound that is truly special. This is Bob’s gift to us.

 

Continued 12:52am December 19th…Happy Birthday Bob!

(No music for the moment, but I’ve got Nasty Dance running inside my head.)

 

The actual chronology is fuzzy for me but the NAO has had many interesting moments:

Playing the Celebration Suite with Gerry Mulligan and then Scott Robinson (he sounds so great on the recording!) and later on, Michael Brecker! One of my most humbling moments was listening to Michael sit down at the drums at the soundcheck. And just a few years ago, we performed it with Joe Lovano at the North Sea Jazz Festival! Playing with Clark Terry and seeing Clark and Bob clown it up.

 

One of the most bizarre gigs of my life: The NAO was hired to play for Helmut Kohl’s birthday party around 2000. At the last minute, Bob had to cancel, but the band was already committed to the gig and we, as a band, needed the money. So, we changed our program to Glenn Miller and some other “lite” pieces. It took place in a hockey rink, I think near Karlsruhe. We alternated sets with an “organist” (one of those big white organs with its only “rhythm section” available at the push of a button.) Needless to say his sets started getting longer and ours shorter.  Some of the trumpet players got their mutes signed by former Chancellor Kohl. A surreal gig that Bob was lucky to miss!

 

Over the years, NAO recorded New Works, Waltzing with Zoe, Get Well Soon, Spirit Music, and Standards plus Madly Loving You. Most of these were recorded at the great Studio Bauer with the equally great engineer, Carlos Albrecht, a man Bob really trusted to help capture our sound.

 

The last record with Fay Claasen, recorded this past March, was a touching experience where the band collectively reaffirmed what a special band we have, what a special sound Bob gave us. It is an exceptional feeling to be part of a band where each and every player is wholeheartedly dedicated to Bob and is there for no other reason than to play their hearts out for him and his music.

 

And some incredibly important personal moments: At the Schleswig-Holstein festival in 1995 I think, the NAO played a part of a 12-hour classical meets jazz concert. Another set featured parts of the NAO with orchestra. Vibist Matt Moran was called from Boston to play the Milt Jackson part in a piece that Gunther Schuller wrote for the Modern Jazz Quartet with orchestra. Matt and I also ended playing a short free improvised duo set. This was my introduction to Matt, one of my favorite musicians, one of my chief musical buddies and stalwart member of The Claudia Quintet.

 

Also, that day, a high school friend of his came to see him (she was an exchange student living in Heidelberg). Although she did not notice me, I took an instant attraction to her and did not forget her. She saw NAO again a few years later at a concert near Heidelberg, and not too soon after that we became a long-distance couple. Kate is now my adored wife of 5 years!

 

Now I’m listening to the NPR-Jazz Profiles on Bob. Most of this stuff I know, but it is just great to hear Bob’s voice, and his sound.

 

Aside from the NAO gigs, various musicians in the band started asking me to play on their own projects. This led to many tours in Germany and ten years later led to my getting a professorship in Berlin, at Jazz Institute Berlin.

 

The 70th birthday recording that Ed Partyka organized was yet another moving experience. A band that was not officially the NAO, but quite close, recorded pieces written by friends of Bob’s. I always liked Bob’s deep, low voice, so I created a composition with a musical scenario where “Father Bob” marches into the hall (Processional) and then gives us some fatherly advice: the poem, Desiderata (by Max Ehrmann). I asked Bob to recite the poem and he reluctantly agreed. Eventually he warmed up to the piece and even asked for a study score. In the end, his recitation was exactly what I was hoping for. It is too early for me to listen to this piece now, too painful, but I do hear one of the last lines resonating in his voice clearly in my head…”Strive to be happy.” You can listen to it here.

 

Around his 74th year, I recorded a small group CD with him and Kenny Wheeler. Thanks to John Snyder for capturing that on film too! Now I need to listen to some of this, it has been a while. The title track, Island, is one of the great tunes Bob wrote for the recording session. Just watching Bob and Kenny sweetly interact with each other personally and musically was inspiring to see. I’m just going to let this record play out so I can give it my full attention. Kenny and Bob’s  approaches are so different, but they obviously really admired each other. I remember Bob laughing about Kenny asking him for composition lessons. Check out the DVD!

 

A few years ago, Bob and I did a couple of quartet gigs with Brad Shepik and Drew Gress in NYC and Cheltenham, UK. It was so deep to experience Bob in that intimate atmosphere and he even played some piano! He was struggling physically (I think it was his knees) but still played great. I asked if we could play a tune of his that he played with sextet that I heard in Binghamton in 1982 and he graciously agreed (it was not his habit to play “old” tunes). I was always hoping that Bob would feel good enough again to do more quartet playing.

 

For Bob’s 80th birthday, Dave Rivello organized a concert at the Eastman School. I wrote a short musical “happy birthday” with a human greeting card and flowers. (Thanks fellow Eastmanites for making it happen!). Later I expanded this 2-minute piece into Bob Walk for the Orchestre National de Jazz (including a “boomwhacker” introduction with the members of the ONJ slowly reciting the spelling of Bob’s name).

 

Bob has significantly and positively influenced my life on so many different levels and for that I am eternally grateful. Because of Bob, I: found a band of my own (The Claudia Quintet), found a soulmate (Kate), found my dream teaching gig, am in one of the best big bands EVER (with some of the nicest guys you will ever meet!), and found my voice as a composer and as a mature human being. The thing is, my experience is probably not that unique. I know Bob has touched many others’ lives in the same way, which is the true testament to how exceptional a man and musician he was.

 

Once a few years ago, Bob left me a phone message, telling me that he loved me. He was the first man to tell me that. That still means a lot to me, not only that he felt it, but that he was courageous enough to say it. This act helped me so much as person, to try to open up and not be afraid to express the strongest of feelings.

 

Bob, I love you too. In moments like this it is soothing to imagine that you are “up there” jamming with Mel, Gerry, Jimmy and all the others. I now have to stop writing and get back to listening to the hours and hours of great music that you left us! I’m going to start with your arrangement of Willow Weep For Me, that one always gives me chills.

Your beloved friend, fan and eternal student,

John Hollenbeck

Claudia Quintet @ Cornelia Street Café, Top-Tens, Search & Restore and more…

//CLAUDIA QUINTET + 1 PLAYS CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ on 12/16 & 12/17//

CQ+1 is visiting the West Village this weekend and hopes that you’re in town. Got the kids this weekend? Bring the kids. Bring your mother, even if you just saw her last weekend. We know you’re busy. That’s why not only will John & co. play both Friday and Saturday nights, they’ll even let you eat dinner right there while you’re listening so you can save time. TONY critics picked it as one of their top 5 things you should do this week, because “Led by drummer-composer John Hollenbeck, this all-star group combines proggy grooves, floating harmonies and searching improv into a slyly cohesive amalgam that’s unlike anything else in or out of town” and they don’t want you to miss out.

BONUS: Special guest is revealed at last! Did you know it’d be Kurt Elling?

(Really can’t make it? CQ will be back for APAP in “classic” configuration on Jan 7th.)

//SHUT UP AND DANCE IS A SLATE TOP TENNER//

John’s collaboration with Daniel Yvinec’s Orchestre National de Jazz, Shut Up & Dance, was chosen for Fred Kaplan’s Best Jazz Albums of 2011 list in Slate. Please respond with your favorite French language equivalent for “kickass” and we’ll compile the results in a future bulletin.

//HELP SEARCH & RESTORE //

Please support nonprofit community-gluers SEARCH & RESTORE. S&R is not only an expertly-tuned show-listing machine for the invented music community, it’s also a huge video repository of live performances from throughout the creative spectrum.Visit this page to learn more about their plans for the coming year; we hope you consider making a donation.

//HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENNETH PATCHEN//

The poet, artist, and stirring precursor would have been 100 years old today.

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These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

The Rise of “Falling Men” + Claudia’s Tour Continues

BREAKING (really!): John Hollenbeck has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition! The nomination is for “Falling Men”, one of ten mini-concertos John instrumentally composed for Daniel Yvinec’s Orchestre National de Jazz, appearing on that group’s stellar Shut Up & Dance. You can (and should!) learn more about “Falling Men” at this familiar blog post right here. Meanwhile all parties involved and many that are not are duly excited. John, for example, has already begun to prepare for his pre-awards show masterclass on advanced topics in percussion, featuring Robyn and Megadeth (info on signups will be made available as it emerges).

And now, our regularly scheduled update from the land of Hollenbeck…

Claudia Quintet+1 continues its irrepressible back-and-forth march through the mid-Atlantic, packing houses as they go and spreading tell of What Is The Beautiful?, their still-new LP featuring and dedicated to the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. The record has been earning no shortage of welcome, moving critical pens and upticking steadily the already heavy traffic in both physical and digital recordings. Among the record’s many fans are Down Beat’s John Murph, who deemed it a 4.5 star affair. While deep in Silver Spring, MD, Cuneiform was rising mightily to fill the order overflows, John & company were visited at Philly’s show by room-shrinking crowds, including radio superwoman Terry Gross and jazz critic Francis Davis. In New York, octogenarian impresario George Wein saw CQ+1 break open The Stone and decided he’d have to have them at Newport next year (Kurt Elling is also slated to appear, setting the stage for another team-up). Without question, the race to align with this six-to-eight-man jazz machine is only intensifying.

Stay tuned for details about more opportunities to see CQ+1, before prominence carries them out of range and away to megastadiums, rural superfestivals and aircraft carriers. All we can say now is they’re slated to appear at the Cornelia Street Café on December 16th & 17th with a special guest whose initials are K.E. Hmm….

While you wait for intel, enrich your Hollenloving mind with this article JH wrote in the latest issue of Downbeat magazine. The topic: composing from a drummer’s perspective.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

What Is the Beautiful? Certified ‘Awesome’; Claudia Quintet+1 Continue Tour

All throughout the Jazz Critopolis, praise for Claudia Quintet+1′s latest creation What Is The Beautiful? keeps on ringing out bell-clear. Daniel Spencer of the BBC spared no kindnesses in his appraisal, concluding,

“It all comes together on the title-track: an intensely compassionate piece of writing, bursting with apocalyptic love for humanity, and punctuated by the repeated refrain: “Pause. And begin again.” Supported by a beautifully understated accompaniment, that lets Elling’s delivery exhale just the right amount of gravitas, it’s genuinely moving – and easily elevates the album to the status of vital, living art.”

Meanwhile, John Murph of flame-keepers emeritus DownBeat gave WITB? 4.5 stars of love and affection, asserting, “John Hollenbeck continues to astound as a composer.”

Lucky for us, John Hollenbeck also continues to tour as a musician. As these reviews pour in alongside several many others, Claudia Quintet+1 is readying dates this very upcoming weekend. Friday, November 18th CQ+1+Theo will entrance Zorn-built Alphabet City stalwart The Stone. Saturday, November 19th that crew moves south to the Philadelphia Art Alliance, before continuing on to Metro Gallery in Baltimore, MD that Sunday. Hit those links for tix—IF there’s any left!

Meanwhile if, owing to serious personal calamity or other life-altering circumstances, you have still yet to purchase your own copy of WITB?, have no fear. The good people at Cuneiform Records, now working double-overtime to keep pace with torrential demand, are ready for you to at last make your move. Buy the album at this mighty & unwavering web-store here, where not only can you become the next proud owner of the latest CQ+1 record, you’ll also get instant satiety with two free CQ+1 downloads, right there on the spot. (And while you’re out there hanging ten on the world wide web, why not link arms with your fellow fan at our Facebook-Based Pro-Claudia Adoration Center?)

We leave you now with this freshly-inked annotated playlist that John did for JazzTimes, his picks for 10 vital tracks by drummer Jack DeJohnette.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble + Kenny Wheeler, Claudia Quintet +1′s New Album Now Available

JHLE will play music by and with Kenny Wheeler at the Jazz Standard this weekend 

Yes, you read that correctly. The persistently huge John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will be performing at the ninth Festival of New Trumpet Music at the Jazz Standard on Friday October 21st and Saturday October 22nd in tribute to (and alongside!) octogenarian vet Kenny Wheeler. You can familiarize yourself with the work of Mr. Wheeler, noted by NYT‘s critics pick-er Nate Chinen as “a trumpeter of integrity”, with the video above, and purchase tickets for the event right here. For those keeping score, here’s this weekend’s batting lineup on team JHLE:

On the drums: John Hollenbeck, drums

On trumpet: Kenny Wheeler, Shane Endsley, Jon Owens, Nate Wooley, and Tony Kadleck

On trombone: Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Mike Christianson, and Rob Hudson

On tenor sax: Chris Cheek, Dan Willis

On alto sax: Jeremy Viner and Jon Gordon

On baritone sax, Bohdan Hilash

Matt Mitchell will be on piano

Kermit Driscoll will be on acoustic bass

Brad Shepik is on guitar

Theo Bleckmann will bring his voice

J.C. Sanford will conduct.

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CQ+1′s latest album What Is The Beautiful? is available now

Claudia Quintet+1, alongside Theo Bleckmann and Kurt Elling, have just released a brand new full-length LP, dedicated to and featuring the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. The album may be bought in a series of easy keystrokes from this swift and powerful website here.  The Times’ Ben Ratliff praised its title track as “a marvel of composition,” while All About Jazz opined it was “a sophisticated work of art whose emotional resonance is as profound as the intricate formal elements that support it.” Over at the LA Times, the vocalists are singled out for praise, noting the ethereal quality lent the record by Theo’s “otherworldly voice”, and how “Elling nearly steals the record with his trademark baritone.”

All online orders come with an instant digital download of two tracks–”Job”, off WITB?, and “No D”, recorded live from Texas. You can also visit this page to order other excellents heapfuls of JH music, including Claudia’s Royal Toast, and JHLE’s Grammy-nominated Eternal Interlude. 

Meanwhile, for those of you who love CQ+1 and are not afraid to make known that love to the Internet universe, we invite you to join our the ever-growing Facebook-Based Pro-Claudia Adoration Center (better known as the CQ “Fan” page). Surely there’s no better place on the web for simpatico CQ fans to join forces, make friends, and rally around a common clause. There you’ll also find news, announcements, breaking media and, if the heavens align just so, the occasional easter egg. See you there!

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These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Claudia Quintet+1′s New Album What Is The Beautiful? Has Arrived

john sends greetings from natal

 

Deep breaths, friends. Endless-feeling moments of raw wait are now over. Today, Claudia Quintet+1, alongside the mighty voices of Kurt Elling & Theo Bleckmann, release What Is The Beautiful?, a brand-new full-length LP dedicated to and featuring the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. Father Time and Mother Nature have stepped aside, and now you may purchase this record whenever you want, from anywhere, at this lovingly effective website here. All orders come with an instant digital download of two tracks–”Job”, off WITB?, and “No D”, recorded live from Texas. You can also visit this page to order other excellents servings of JH music, including Claudia’s Royal Toast, and JHLE’s Grammy-nominated Eternal Interlude. 

Curious what the hired pens have said? Of the album’s title track, NYT’s Ben Ratliff offers this: “For seven minutes, everything logically and constantly grows, until the chilling and unresolved end. It’s a piece with a lot of improvisation, one that takes a lot of cues from its literary source, but at the same time it’s a marvel of composition.” All About Jazz is already all about it. Their review calls WITB? “A unique merger of evocative poetry and avant-garde jazz…a sophisticated work of art whose emotional resonance is as profound as the intricate formal elements that support it.” Washington City Paper feels similarly, with particular love for Kurt & Theo’s poetic evocations and the ways they’re underpinned by deft work from the band.

More sentiment printed and otherwise is certainly on the way, but wow, as the professional reviewers file in, the voice we want most to hear from now is yours. Come join our nascent Facebook-Based Pro-Claudia Adoration Center (better known as the CQ “Fan” page) and make known your love. There you’ll find like-minded Claudia Quintet fans of all stripes, organized in neat pixels and at the ready to talk Hollenshop with you and yours all day long. There you’ll also find news, announcements, breaking media and even, if you’re very good, the occasional easter egg. We can’t wait to see you there.

Oh yeah, the dates: November 18th, CQ+1 will madly pillage the Stone in New York, followed by a November 19th date at Philadelphia Art AllianceOn November 20th they appear, with Theo, at the Cuneiform Records Showcase in Baltimore, MD December 16th-17th CQ+1 will touchdown at The Cornelia Street Café. Finally, on February 18th, JHLE enlivens Amherst College, in Massachusetts. We can’t wait to see you there either.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

 

 

Refuge Trio’s Stop-Motion Spring, Pre-Orderage Continues, and the Tour Dates March On

We begin our broadcast with this lovely stop-motion animation from German artist-designer Sarah Hartwig  That mellifluous background sound you’ll hear is none other than Refuge Trio, the nom-de-jazz of John’s combo with Messrs Theo Bleckmann & Gary Versace.

Delightful, no? Now we return you to the ever-pressing concern of Pre-Ordering the New Claudia Quintet + 1 album, What is the Beautiful?. As we’ve recently reminded you, you can get an agressive head-start on your ownership of this superb new album by pre-ordering it from this website right here.

For those who may not know, this latest CQ+1 record features and is dedicated to the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. For a swell overview of Mr. Patchen’s interdisciplinary oeuvre, we refer you to this Rochester City Newspaper article, an article that just so happens to conclude with a review of CQ+1′s addition to the canon:

…a recording produced by Richard Peek (Director of Rare Books and Special Collections, UR Libraries), percussionist, keyboardist, and composer John Hollenbeck masterfully sets Patchen’s evocative works to decidedly modern music. His band, The Claudia Quintet (Ted Reichman, accordion; Chris Speed, reeds; Matt Moran, vibraphone; Drew Gress, bass; and Matt Mitchell, piano) plays them beautifully. The all-important voices are supplied by a nicely theatrical Kurt Elling and a wonderfully plaintive Theo Bleckmann.

Check out the new album on the CQ+1 Bandcamp, download the new “Job”, and get on the pre-ordering train so you can pre-own this fast-oncoming record!

But wait, there’s….

DATES!

First & foremost, we promised you more details on JH’s appearances at the James Madison University this October 3rd-5th. Here, complete & excerpted for John-centricity, we present to you, the program:

Monday, Oct. 3

8 pm – Concert I (Forbes Center Concert Hall)

The Claudia Quintet with John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckman

John Hollenbeck: Grey Cottage Studies – Wanchi Huang, violin;  Michael Overman, vibraphone

Tuesday, Oct. 4

11am – 12 noon (RH)

Talk with John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckmann

Wednesday, Oct. 5

12:20-1:10 pm (Music Building Rm 142)

Composition master class with John Hollenbeck

1:25-2:15 pm (Music Building Rm 142)

Voice demonstration/lecture with Theo Bleckmann

7:30 pm – Pre-concert talk with John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckmann (CH)

8 pm – Concert IV (CH)

“Chamber Music Meets Jazz”

Michael Gordon: Industry, for solo amplified cello – Carl Donakowski, cello

John Hollenbeck: Ziggurat, for 4 saxophones and 5 percussionists

JMU Jazz Ensemble plays selections by John Hollenbeck, featuring the Madison Singers and Theo Bleckmann, with Andy Connell, Dave Pope and Bob Hallahan

“This festival is sponsored in part by the JMU Office of International Programs.

Concerts I-IV are ticketed. All other events are free and open to the public. For ticket information, visit http://www.jmu.edu/jmuarts/, call the Forbes Center Box Office at 540.568.7000, or visit the Box Office between 10:00 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Could you ask for anything more?

Yes?

Well November 18th, CQ+1 will reemerge at the Stone in New York, followed by a November 19th gig at Philadelphia Art AllianceOn November 20th they perform, with Theo, at the Cuneiform Records Showcase in Baltimore, MD December 16th-17th CQ+1 will visit The Cornelia Street Café. Finally, on February 18th, JHLE will perform at Amherst College, in Massachusetts.

Got all that? Watch this space for further details and more show dates and visit this page to stay atop the scene…

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com


 

You can pre-order Claudia Quintet’s new album RIGHT NOW

 

Sure, you can wait and regular order What Is the Beautiful?, the newest release from the Claudia Quintet+1 feat. Kurt Elling & Theo Bleckmann. But then it’ll be later. Pre-order the album now and while waiting to feast on WITB? snack on a sweet six-track digital sampler. Four excellent CQ tracks of various vintage, plus a new song from WITB?, ”Job”, and a live track, “No D”, all completely yours to bounce between your ears whenever you want.

This is what the professionals call aggressive foresight. Curious what the gang has in mind for Mr. Kenneth Patchen, the artist & poet to whom this album is dedicated and whose poetry is read aloud alongside the instruments? “Job” will provide a taste. Eager to get onboard with digging this band and looking for a quick way into the oeuvre? These six hand-selected tracks will guide your way. Meanwhile, when October 11th(ish, depending on your shipping address) rolls around, you’ll have the new CQ+1 disk. You will have foreseen, aggressively.

Still feeling uncertain? Take a baby step with “Job”, listenable–and downloadable–right here.

LIVENESS:

For those of you who enjoy live music (or despise recorded music), there’s good news as well: Claudia+1 will be crisscrossing the Northeast  as they perform throughout the autumn & winter.

Next month, all ye Virginians, John & Co. will be doing all sorts of fun and interactive gigs at the 31st Contemporary Music Festival at James Madison University. To wit: October 1st is a CQ+1 open rehearsal (time & location still TBD (ooh!)). On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 2nd, CQ+1 perform 4pm at the Jazz Festival in Crozet and then 9pm at The Camel. Monday, October 3rd, John CQ+1 reunite with Theo for a live performance at JMU. Then, with appetites surely whet, you’ll get the chance to learn firsthand from John & Theo as they host a masterclass/clinic on October 4th. On October 5th, the James Madison University Jazz Ensemble will be performing John’s music as John himself looks on, his feet tapping all around the beat.  You can call (540) 568-7000 to demand entry or hunt for access at this site here.

Meanwhile the massive John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will be performing at the ninth Festival of New Trumpet Music at the Jazz Standard which runs from October 20th-23rd, with JHLE appearing October 21st-22nd in tribute to (and alongside!) octogenarian vet Kenny Wheeler.

Looking ahead: On November 18th, CQ+1 will reemerge at the Stone in New York, followed by a November 19th gig at Philadelphia Art Alliance. On November 20th they perform, with Theo, at the Cuneiform Records Showcase in Baltimore, MD December 16th-17th CQ+1 will visit The Cornelia Street Café. Finally, on February 18th, JHLE will perform at Amherst College, in Massachusetts.

Got all that? Watch this space for further details and more show dates and visit this page to keep track of all that is upcoming…

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com


The Great Post-Festival Newport News Roundup

Despite the weekend’s well-documented downpours, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble performed at Newport Jazz Fest without incident and much to the delight of those present. For those folks unable to make it (or otherwise interested in reliving the set) we present a multimedia menu of reviews, news, and sounds:

-First & foremost, check out NPR Music’s full recording of JHLE live in concert. The sound is superb and includes ample solid-brass snippets of already-classic Hollenbanter in-between songs.

-Grey Lady-lovers can enjoy reporting from NYT’s Mr. Ben Ratliff, both in the form of his on-the-spot bloggage as well as a longer, full-service/big-picture review filed after the weekend, notable both for its highlight picks and its take on the broader feel of the festival and its audience.

-For the New Englander viewpoint, Mr. Steve Greenlee offers up his perspective via the Boston Globe, desribing JHLE as having played “the weekend’s most innovative set”.

-In other words from the city on the hill, Mr. Jon Garelick provides an extensive rundown of his own in the Boston Phoenix.

-From up above the 42nd parallel, Mr. Peter Hum writes his recollections in the Ottowa Citizen, supplemented in no small part by swell photos, including this one of Theo & Kate.

Did we miss anything? Have you read or seen some key JHLE news that’s escaped our eye? Better yet, were you there yourself to bear witness & testify? Let us know!

Update: Alex W. Rodriguez, who writes about Jazz at Lubricity, brought this brief interview with WBGO’s Josh Jackson to my attention, in which John discusses, among other things, his take on Newport’s ‘facilities’. Thanks, Alex!

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

JHLE at Newport Jazz Festival Nonattendance Contingency Plan

As you’re sure to already know now, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will play the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, USA on August 7th. If you’ve been on the fence about buying tickets, there’s still time, but we know at this point you’ve likely already prepared a whole array of supporting materials in preparation for your trip to Newport, including an estimated daily budget, annotated travel itinerary and home-made fiberglass stencil (“HOLLEN-YES”) for use in making posters and decorating public property.

If, however, you will not be attending–be it due to an unprecedented natural catastrophe on your block, or your detainment by government agents for suspected treason–we have discovered a means to enjoy the festival from afar. Turns out American media megalith National Public Radio will be both recording and live webcasting the festival from this site. John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble has even been included on a preview mix by WBGO, now available for your perusal. Obviously these Internet-fed aural experiences will fall drastically short of seeing JHLE live and in concert. But, if, owing to extenuating circumstances, you simply can’t be there, they will at least help dull the sharp pangs of longing liable to pervade your weekend at home.

JHLE at Newport Jazz + New Claudia Quintet Album

BREAKING: Fivesome fanatics and vocal enthusiasts rejoice, for Claudia Quintet+1 (with Matt Mitchell now joining on piano) has just finished recording a new album. Alongside CQ+1 will appear Theo Bleckmann and fellow noted jazz vocalist Kurt Elling. The album also features and is dedicated to the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. It will be released by Cuneiform on October 11th.

NOW: As heat indices across America surge ever-skyward, our thoughts again turn to that mighty peninsula of Jazz, Newport, Rhode Island. On August 7th, just a handful long weeks from today, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will appear at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside frequent Hollenvocalist Theo Bleckmann, vocalist Kate McGarry, and the singular Uri Caine on piano and organ. There they will perform John’s arrangements of songs by Imogen Heap, Jimmy Webb, Ornette Coleman and Kraftwerk, plus John’s original work. August 6th is close approaching–plot out the vacation days, make arrangements for the pets, then go forth and flee your homes in search of Jazz Paradise. Naturally tickets and more info is available here.

THEN once finished there JHLE will sail on a to-scale replica of the Santa Maria from the New World backwards to Lisbon, Portugal where they will perform at the Jazz Em Augusto festival on August 14th. Details for European fans and hungry travelers is available here.  For those who’d like to attend but lack the airfare, be advised that at this time JHLE is still seeking volunteer rowers to help propel their modest vessel across the Atlantic; it is expected that, with equipment, ninety men will need to row nonstop  for seven days if the band is to arrive on schedule. Interested parties should refer to the email below.

IN OTHER NEWS: This week John will be teaching an Alternative Big Band Workshop at Cornish College of the Arts with none other than the great Wayne Horwitz. From the (awesome-sounding) course description:

We will survey different approaches to composing for the jazz big band outside the mainstream, and explore texture, voicing, and form through examination of scores and recorded examples. Students will also have the opportunity to play and perform new compositions and arrangements by workshop instructors Wayne Horvitz and John Hollenbeck. The week culminates in a Friday evening concert featuring a student ensemble.

LASTLY stalwart arbiters of culture Downbeat Magazine recently concluded their 59th Annual Critics Poll and found the ascendant John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble to be this year’s Rising Star Winner for the category of Big Band. You can see all the winners from this poll at Downbeat’s website here.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com



Claudia Quintet Will Animate Undead Jazz Next Week

Next week John Hollenbeck actives his favorite fivesome to play NYC’s 2011 Undead Jazz Festival, a crisp summer festival entrée hosted by new jazz archivist-curators Search and Restore. Claudia Quintet will take to Stage 1 at Public Assembly on June 26th at 9pm. They appear a rare strictly five-man combination, sans common accomplices Matt Mitchell and Theo Bleckmann. Accordingly, gig-goers can expect to hear plenty already-classic Claudia oldies. You can buy admission to the three-day city-spanning festival in the usual range of multi-day passes and single-shot tickets here.

IF YOU SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT, however, you can (and should) see a rare and awesome combination of musicians convene on June 25th to perform re-imaginings of Meredith-Monk’s music at City Hall Park in Manhattan. Monk-loving supergroup Future Quest is made of such gentle men as Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Erik Deutsch, and, ever the Monk-lover, John himself. They are again joined by Theo as well as Guinean group Fula Flute. The show begins 730pm at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts. Tickets are free but limited; reservations can be made here.

LASTLY AND MOSTLY it is never too early to remember that John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble will play the Newport Jazz Festival on Sunday, August 7th. They appear up there with Theo, vocalist Kate McGarry, and Uri Caine on piano and organ. The show will feature John’s arrangements of songs by Imogen Heap, Jimmy Webb, Ornette Coleman and Kraftwerk plus John’s original work. Sweet. Newport, for those of you who don’t know, is thrice-bounded by water, peninsula-style, and thus boasts temperatures appreciably lower than will be found deep in the rubber dish glove heat that is NYC in August. ROI is thus assured when you pack up the children, flee New York for a weekend in Newport, and go see JHLE. Apparently there will be other musicians there too–you can learn their names and all the relevant info right here.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com


 

Two Cities, Chocolate & Champagne for Claudia

[[National Center for the Performing Arts in Bejing. ONJ will perform Shut Up & Dance here next week. On June 4th, they will be appearing to perform SU&D at the Jazzdor Festival in Berlin.]]

O DREARY NORTHEAST, can it really be all of two weeks until summer starts? As this interim weekend approaches–call it Almost But Not Quite Memorial Day Weekend–we’re pleased to remind you that Claudia Quintet is back to tide us over. For those of you nearest to Boston, Claudia appears at Lilypad on Friday, May 20 at 9pm. Tickets are gettable here. For those of you nearest to New York, you can hear Claudia perform new work by John written especially for The 10th Look & Listen Festival, a new stalwart enterprise hosted by select superheroes of public radio. Claudia performs with Theo Bleckmann as part of a rich concert program at The Chelsea Art Museum on Saturday, May 21st at 8pm. The concert will be followed by a chocolate and champagne reception hosted by Terrence McKnight. Tickets here. This, we trust, will be exactly what’s needed to survive until the end-of-May 3-day magic takes hold and summer begins proper.

IN OTHER NEWS: The John Hollenbeck Musical Empire has insinuated itself into nominations for the 2011 Jazz Journalist’s Association Awards in not one but two categories. JHLE is up for Large Ensemble of the Year and John himself is up for Composer of the Year. You can see the full list of nominees here. The (doubtless star-studded) awards gala will be held on June 11th in New York City. Anyone figure out who constitutes the voting body, let us know and we’ll begin directing our considerable bribery resources accordingly.

LASTLY, A TREAT:  A selection from John’s latest Tree Series, which premiered at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia last month, is now available to be viewed online. To refresh: For this piece, JH drew inspiration from the early twentieth century painting series of same name by Piet Mondrian. From The Kimmel Center:

Tree Series…shows an evolution from representational art to his spiritual, geometric abstractions that the world would fall in love with. The program also features faculty and students from the Schools of Dance and Music at the University of the Arts in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and with with forces from the University of Delaware on George Antheil’s percussion ensemble work Ballet Mécanique.

The piece is performed here by the University of the Arts Big Band. Check it out:

 

From Trees // John Hollenbeck from John Hollenbeck's Web PR on Vimeo.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John Hollenbeck: Most Telegenic Man on the Internet?

 

John Hollenbeck: Reveling in the Unknown from NewMusicBox on Vimeo.

 

“New Music” and “Suaveté” rarely cross paths in the same sentence–but watching this superb and depths-plumbing interview on NewMusicBox, could you deny it? In it John sheds light on everything from childhood formulation to the evolution of his creative process. Emphatically not to be missed.

In (lots) other news–JH’s collaboration with Orchetre National de Jazz, Shut Up & Dance has received no shortage of sweet ink lately. To wit:

-Four Stars from that key upstate organ The Buffalo News

-Featured on All Things Considered‘s recent foray into new excellent jazz releases

-Praise for JHLE & ONJ’s SU&D performance from Nate Chinen at The New York Times

If we’ve missed anything, including positive press from you, our dear reader, please don’t hesitate to shout.

Lastly, for those medium-term planners, be advised Claudia Quintet will play at Lilypad in Cambridge, Boston on May 20th. Details available here. On May 21st, they play the Look and Listen Festival, point yourselves here for tickets and more information. Meanwhile JH is presently hard working on the next Claudia recording, which will be dedicated to poems by Kenneth Patchen and featuring Messr’s Kurt Elling & Theo Bleckmann

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble Will Join Orchestre National de Jazz at Le Poisson Rouge Next Week

First things first: The kind folk at Sunnyside Records have made JHLE’s Grammy-nominated Eternal Interlude available for streaming, complete and unabridged, right from their website. Better still, from now until Tuesday, you can purchase a download of your own at the price that you name. Will it be mp3 dollars and fifty cents, or mid-90s $21.99? It’s all up to you! Check it out here.

Next: As I’m sure you may already know, On April 25th the mighty John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble returns from their brief respite for a special one-shot dobule-bill performance at approachably hip downtown Manhattan cavern Le Poisson Rouge. Their set will be followed by a performance from longtime life-partners  L’Orchestre National de Jazz. As if any further enticement were needed, JHLE will be joined that evening by Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry & Uri Caine. The show is free for LPR members and $15 for the general public. Doors are at 630, show begins 730. You can buy tickets and bask in a bevy of other media by clicking here.

We hasten to note this event comes pre-vetted by the good folks at Time Out New York. To wit:

That’s right, we’re bigger than Gaga right now.

ONJ & JHLE’s storied affair springs springs from an ongoing collaboration between Hollenbeck & Daniel Yvinec, ONJ’s artistic director. In 2010 Hollenbeck composed and recorded “Shut Up And Dance”, a series of  ten mini-concertos each tailored to a different member of ONJ. You can visit ONJ’s Shut Up & Dance page pour en savoir plus and visit this store here to purchase an ONJ/SU&D download of your very own. Can’t wait for April 25th? Re-watch this stellar recording of ONJ performing “Shut Up & Dance” at Le Théâtre du Châtelet this past December.

(Le) Poisson Rouge would like to remind you “This is a first-come, first-served partially seated event. Seating is limited and not guaranteed; please arrive early”. Once again, for emphasis: you can reserve tickets at this link here.

In other key Hollenbeck news:

John’s newest work, The Tree Series, will premiere at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center this Friday, April 22nd & Saturday, April 23rd. For this piece JH draws inspiration from the early twentieth century painting series of same name by Piet Mondrian. The Kimmel Center describe the work in more detail:

John Hollenbeck will create a new work for large jazz ensemble and dancers, taking inspiration from this first Paris period in Mondrian’s work. Specifically, the Tree Series that shows an evolution from representational art to his spiritual, geometric abstractions that the world would fall in love with. The program also features faculty and students from the Schools of Dance and Music at the University of the Arts in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and with with forces from the University of Delaware on George Antheil’s percussion ensemble work Ballet Mécanique.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here. Also in the area: ONJ will be performing at World Café Live in Wilmington, DE on April 24th. Tickets? Ici.

These words have been brought to you by Jacques Swartz, Chronicler of John, to whom John has relegated all duties pertaining to web PR and general online upkeep. Jacques would like to reaffirm for all interested parties that he is not, in fact, Mr. John Hollenbeck, nor is he Mr. Hollenbeck’s imaginary alter-ego, but rather a fully discrete being in his own right. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to Jacques at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Claudia Quintet to Tour Switzerland, Netherlands, Gowanus

On April 1st, Claudia Quintet will board skipper John Hollenbeck’s refurbished catamaran and set sail up the Gowanus Canal towards Denmark.  In an awesome display of nautical mastery, Claudia hopes to make this 4000 mile transatlantic journey in under twelve hours, then go on to play shows for the women and men of Copenhagen, Berlin, Luzern, and beyond. Before they are allowed to depart America, however, they must petition a quorum of musical peers for renewal of their Seafaring Jazzmen License. Please join us on March 31st at Littlefield, where we will come to consensus on whether or not to allow Theo Bleckmann, Matt Mitchell, Håkon Kornstad, and Red Wierenga to follow Hollenbeck and his reduced-price multihull speed machine into the record books.

CLAUDIA QUINTET TOUR DATES:

MARCH 31 LITTLEFIELD 8:00pm Brooklyn/USA www.littlefieldnyc.com

APRIL 2 JAZZHOUSE 9:00pm Copenhagen/DENMARK www.jazzhouse.dk

APRIL 3 WABE 8:00pm Berlin/GERMANY www.wabe-berlin.de

APRIL 5 AMR Jazz Festival 8:30pm Geneva/SWITZERLAND www.amr-geneve.ch

APRIL 7 JAZZKANTINE 8:30pm Luzern/SWITZERLAND www.jsl.ch/kantine.htm

APRIL 8 LANTAREN VENSTER 8:30pm Rotterdam/NETHERLANDS www.lantarenvenster.nl

APRIL 9 BIMHUIS 8:30pm Amsterdam/NETHERLANDS www.bimhuis.nl

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com


 

Love & Thanks from the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble

JHLE would like to extend its loving thanks to all those who came out in support of its first-ever tour. From Cornish to Clovis, Seattle to SFO, Hollenbeck’s heroes were met with gracious energy everyplace up and down the West Coast. One young man from the San Joaquin Valley wrote to John to express this in words, excerpted here:

I was scheduled to take my high school jazz band over to Clovis but Saturday morning my wife went into labor and just before the 7:30pm concert our son Khalil was born. The jazz band was able to go and play at the festival that day on their own with a few chaperones. It was such a great day for my wife, our family, our friends, and myself. Checking in with the high school group right after your concert and hearing what great time they had that day made it even more special. Thanks for being a part of it and for being such a positive and centered person/musician.

Thanks to you for being such positive and centered fans. You can view JHLE’s tour diary in photos now in full here, truly stellar chronicling by Theo Bleckmann and his compats.  Meanwhile those of us on the East Coast can look forward to the return of Herr Hollenbeck and his slimmer outfit, Claudia Quintet. THey begin a tour of their own at Littlefield on March 31st, featuring Matt Mitchell, Theo Bleckmann, and, direct from Norway, the great Hakon Kornstad. Thinkers-ahead can purchase tickets here. Watch this space for more on all things Hollenbeck.

Have you seen John Hollenbeck, musically?

We’re looking for everyone with photos, videos, audio recordings, watercolors, sketches, blog posts or text messages about seeing John perform live. This material helps us build our database of John Hollenbeck Moments and provides a rare chance to show the world what John looks like from where you’re sitting.  Email us at (once more, for emphasis) johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com with anything and everything.

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Heralds of Hollenbeck

Chris Barton at the LA Times has likewise caught Large Ensemble Fever. “For me that’s kind of what I thought jazz is about,” JH told him.  “The forward motion and kind of music that you couldn’t really get a handle on.” Read the article and its not unsteady handles on JHLE here

Have you pledged allegiance to the Tour? Only our West Coast Tour Invitation lets you officially declare your RSVP to all Facebook creation.

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These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

“Where on the West Coast is JHLE?”

As the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble embarks on its first-ever tour, we’re sure many of you Pacific-huggers are pressed more than ever by this very question. To ease your wonders, we’ve assembled a special Internet-powered map to help guide you along the journey.


View Where on the West Coast is JHLE? in a larger map

Yes, each colorful symbol you see littered on along the Northwest corridor represents another stop along the 18-person whirlwind. Click on it to view address information, ticketing information, and a link to the venue’s website. As the band progresses, we’ll mark their progress. We’ll also keep you posted with to-the-minute inside-tourblimp status updates along the way. It’s our hope these new tools (and the ways we wield them) will help our West Coastal folk make well-informed decisions about how many JHLE shows to attend this coming weekend. You can even show your support for the whole all-out JHLE venture on our special West Coast Invitation Page.

And don’t forget that before these musicians make their way there, they’ll be here at the beautiful Jazz Standard this Tuesday, March 1st at 730 & 930pm. New Yorkers ready to get onboard can visit their own special New York Invitation Page. Says Fung Chern Hwei, “I MUST COME”. So must you!

We leave you with the championship performance of the 2005 Reed High Winter Percussion Program, playing a tune we suspect you’ll know. Enjoy.

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble to Convene at Jazz Standard Next Tuesday

As promised, John Hollenbeck has returned to his native New York to convene the eighteen musicians of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. The group meets Tuesday, March 1st, first at 730, then again at 930. John has selected The Jazz Standard to serve as the venue for the confab, designed to resolve the matter of seating arrangements aboard Hollenbeck’s private blimp, “Wizmark”. Only twelve seats will be available as 18 players journey 3000 aerial miles from New York to Seattle this week for The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble Grand Tour Hollenbeck is said to have been overheard remarking, “I’m quite excited to see how this will turn out.”

You can buy tickets for the 730pm show here and tickets for the 930pm show here. Visit this page to gaze intently at links to both shows while you contemplate which to attend.

Real quotes from real people:

“Profound, imaginative, well-developed pieces for 20 musicians, grown out of jazz and classical music, built around soloists but never subservient to them. As a big-band jazz composer, Mr. Hollenbeck was already good; now he’s become great.” — Ben Ratliff in the NY Times

“John is one of the most brilliant musicians I’ve had the privilege of working with.” — Meredith Monk

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble Crash Courses to Fit Every Schedule

As JHLE gears up for its bicoastal tour, we reach out to those who don’t yet know this big band’s bag. How to become better informed on the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble in…

Ten seconds: Stare deeply into this picture of them:


One MinuteRead this blurb from TONY’s David Adler (via Ann Braithwaite):

“John Hollenbeck’s 18-piece Large Ensemble can explode with rhythmic drive and technical dazzle, or it can evoke serene calm, tone poetry and even prayer. It’s a big band for a new eclectic world, building on the legacy of seminal big-band composer Bob Brookmeyer and other role models. Hollenbeck holds it together with intricate drumming, compositional acumen and searing wit as he marshals the resources of top jazz improvisers, including saxophonist Tony Malaby and vocalist, Theo Bleckmann. The ensemble is currently touring to celebrate Eternal Interlude (nominated for a Grammy in 2009), the eagerly awaited follow-up to A Blessing (nominated for a Grammy in 2006) and Joys and Desires, a memorable side project with Europe’s Jazz Bigband Graz.”

Nine minutes: Watch this video of JHLE performing “Guarana” live at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia, PA


20+ minutes: Listen to WNYC’s “No Cover” feature on JHLE. The easiest way into JHLE is through its music, here artfully curated by WNYC and bearing its own set of quick, blurby factoids.

Audio: 

[Full article]

A good hour: Purchase, download and listen to “Eternal Interlude”, JHLE’s grammy-nominated 2009 album. Because you still believe in the special integrity that goes along with listening to a really great album start to finish.[LINK]

Bonus assignment: Using your newfound understanding of the JHLE ouevre, write them a section on John’s Wikipedia entry With your mighty hand, knowledge-holders, go inscribe them in the book of Wiki forevermore. Theirs can be a robust entry, all we need is you!

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Orchestre National de Jazz Premieres Shut Up and Dance [Video] [Contains Dance]

A more beautiful embedded player you never did see. Let us take you floating through the Théâtre du Chatelet for the Paris premiere of John’s latest Franco-American engagement, “Shut Up And Dance”. From 58:00, you will see this series of ten mini-concertos written for the Orchestre National de Jazz, “each one dedicated to a different orchestra musician and tailored to their personality and language.” Appropriately, the musicians will be joined onstage by real dancers. May we recommend “Life Still” at 1:26:00, “Shaking Peace” at 1:44:00, “Praya Dance” at 2:01:00, and, our pick for Best Costume, “Melissa’s Dance” round 2:18:00.

BBC’s Jazz on 3 showcased “Shut Up & Dance” this past Monday evening featuring an interview with John and the broadcast of its world premiere performance, recorded at the London Jazz Festival in 2010. At press time you’ve five days left to listen to it here. Earlier that day, Monday’s Jazz on 3 Newsletter saw presenter Jez Nelson wonder aloud about some revolutionary notions:

The success and enterprise of the ONJ begs the questions – why doesn’t Britain have a publicly funded and artistically progressive jazz orchestra? Besides the good work done by the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, could more be done to support new writers for large jazzensembles?

“Could more be done” indeed!

Visit ONJ’s Shut Up & Dance page pour en savoir plus and please visit this store here to purchase an ONJ/SU&D download of your very own. And don’t forget ONJ joins the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble at Le Poisson Rouge on April 25th. When tickets go on sale, you’ll be the first to know.

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com


Claudia Quintet on the Highway of Love

Shrink-wrapped chocolates returned to pharmacy shelves across the nation last week as a freezing America turns its thoughts to candy and true love. But for Jozen Cummings, every day is Valentine’s Day. Cummings is the voice of Until I Get Married, a web diary of modern bachelorhood as told by a relationship expert. Last week he brought the stylish, certifiably brilliant Jason Moran onboard to curate a list of the five best jazz albums to play while you’re making out (“ol’-fashion style”). Guess who got number three?

Now, if Royal Toast doesn’t seem offhand too libido-stoking, that’s because, as Moran puts it,

“This is taking the soul aesthetic and then running it through a conservatory and then running it through a PhD, but it’s still soulful too, kind of like these chefs who strain their sauces two or three times.”

Right? Honor Roll Soul. Soul au Jus. Unexpectedly, certifiably romantic.

Turns out not everyone agrees with Moran. I won’t spoil the story, just the setup:

“John Hollenbeck, he’s also a very funny dude who feels very comfortable talking to his audience. He was telling me this story: After one of these gigs, a woman came up to him, gave him a note, and walked away…”

Reap the wisdom so hard won by John & Jason at The Until I Get Married Guide to Jazz.

Have you seen John, Musically?

Has John Hollenbeck set off a love reaction in your life? Does Claudia Quintet put you in the mood for makeouts? Drop us a line at johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com, or flag down our Twitter bird, @john_hollenbeck Don’t forget to consult our Live page to make sure you’re not missing out on any great upcoming John Hollenbeck action near you.

These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

-JS

Where to find John Hollenbeck

NOW

1) Today John’s in Paris, studying Mondrian at this Centre Pompidou exhibit. He’s working on a piece for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia based on Mondrian’s Parisian days. The work debuts at UArts’ Merriam Theatre on MARCH 1.

THE REST OF THE MONTH

2) From next week ’till the end of the month, John will be at der Universität Luzern, teaching Lucerniacs the secrets of composition, improvisation, and performing in the streets of Switzerland without the use of a large rubber mask.

WAY LATER, IN A COUPLE MONTHS

3) As the post below describes in deep neon, March 1st John returns to his homeland of New York State to organize the 18 musicians of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble into seating arrangements on his 12-person private blimp. They will be meeting onstage at The Standard, once at 730pm, then again at 930pm. The public is encouraged to spectate as the musicians battle for seats on the six-hour flight.

4) All other inquiries about John’s whereabouts are likely answered by the LIVE page.

HAVE YOU SEEN JOHN, MUSICALLY?

5) These words have been brought to you by Sir Jacques, Chronicler of John, to whom JH has ceded control of his online persona. All queries, complaints, kind remarks and general feedback regarding this blog may be directed to johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

And now, an important message: We’re looking for everyone with photos, videos, audio recordings, watercolors, sketches, blog posts or text messages about seeing John perform live. This material helps us build our database of John Hollenbeck Moments and provides a rare chance to show the world what John looks like from where you’re sitting.  Email us at (once more, for emphasis) johnhollenwebpr@gmail.com

Please join us again next week for the latest in all things Hollenbeck.

-JS

Upcoming…

18-Piece John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble in NYC at Jazz Standard March 1

Plus JHLE tours 5 West Coast cities March 2-7

* * Performances in Seattle, WA; Salem, OR; Fresno, Palo Alto and Los Angeles, CA * *

“…Hollenbeck is taking the big band into the future. ” — Chris Barton, LA Times

“Profound, imaginative, well-developed pieces for 20 musicians, grown out of jazz and classical music, built around soloists but never subservient to them. As a big-band jazz composer, Mr. Hollenbeck was already good; now he’s become great.” — Ben Ratliff, NY Times

“John is one of the most brilliant musicians I’ve had the privilege of working with.” — Meredith Monk

Go to LIVE for SHOW DETAILS

Go to ABOUT for PRESS RELEASE & PROMO Downloads


Wishing you…

the best holiday season and a spectacular New Year!

 

PLUS the Best Toilets of 2010 (by John Hollenbeck)…CLICK HERE!

“Shut Up and Dance” Premieres November 16th at the LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL

ARTISTIC DIRECTION
DANIEL YVINEC
COMPOSITION
JOHN HOLLENBECK
Produced in a creative sphere covering New York, Paris, Berlin and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Shut Up And Dance emphasizes the relation between music and movement.  The spotlight turns to rhythm in all aspects of expression, at times even where least expected: a ping pong ball bouncing across piano wire, miscellaneous objects mistreated by computer software, instrument keys, hands rubbing, PVC tubes morphing into melodies… Percussion is everywhere, a bona fide sequence of powerful melodic passages that blend the shades of a repeating musical sound, pygmy music, art music, electronic music, not to overlook a Gnawas’ trance or a Duke Ellington swing.John Hollenbeck’s compositions, inspired specially for this program, stem from an extensive collaboration with Daniel Yvinec and reveal the excitement and body of classical works, in a series of ten mini-concertos, each one dedicated to a different orchestra musician tailored to their unique personality and language.

Turning the notion of instrumental function on its head without a moment’s hesitation, the wind instruments drive the beat, while the prepared piano moves onto the percussion side of the orchestra… It’s all about the idea of movement, conveyed in these mesmerizing rhythms, always and forever crisscrossing so as to ease our separation from self.

NOVEMBER 16 2010
LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL   SOUTHBANK CENTRE/LONDON UK

NOVEMBER 17 2010
REIMS  JAZZ FESTIVAL   DOMAINE POMMERY

WATCH Shut Up and Dance EPK on YouTube

 

 

JHLE in Brooklyn…October 13th

JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE

with special guest, Kate McGarry-voice
at
littlefield
622 Degraw Street (b/3rd and 4th Ave) BKLYN
www.littlefieldnyc.com

$14 cover, $6 drink minimum
under 21: $7 cover, $3 drink minimum
8pm and 9:30pm

Ben Kono (flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone), Jeremy Viner (clarinet), Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone), Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone) Bohdan Hilash (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Rob Hudson (trombone), Mike Christianson (trombone), Jacob Garchik (trombone), Jeff Nelson (bass trombone), Jon Owens (trumpet), Tony Kadleck (trumpet), Dave Ballou (trumpet), Laurie Frink (trumpet), Kermit Driscoll (bass), John Hollenbeck (drums), Gary Versace (piano), Patty Franceschy (mallets), Theo Bleckmann (voice), Kate McGarry (voice), and J.C. Sanford (conductor).

welcome to new website!

UPCOMING LIVE APPEARANCES:

September 23rd: John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble
Iridium Jazz Club NYC

Claudia Quintet Fall 2010 midwest tourlette:
September 27th Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, Minn
September 29th Moraine Valley Community College Chicago, Ill
September 30th University of Indiana Bloomington, Indiana
October 1st Oberlin College Oberlin, Ohio
October 2nd EdgeFest Ann Arbor, MI

October 13th JHLE at Littlefield Brooklyn, NY

Upcoming Shows

SUNDAY JUNE 13TH

The JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE
will perform at the Undead Jazz Festival
at LPR at 10:20pm in NYC

Woodwinds
Ben Kono flute/sopranosaxophone/alto saxophone
Jeremy Viner clarinet/tenor saxophone
Ellery Eskelin tenor saxophone
Dan Willis tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Bohdan Hilash bass clarinet/contra-alto clarinet/clarinet

Trombone
Rob Hudson, Mike Christianson, Jacob Garchik, Alan Ferber

Trumpets/Flugelhorns
Jon Owens, Peter Evans, Dave Ballou, Laurie Frink

Bass-Matt Clohesy
Drums/Composition-John Hollenbeck
Piano-Matt Mitchell
Vibraphone-Matt Moran
Voice-Theo Bleckmann
Conductor-JC Sanford

————————————————————————

MONDAY JUNE 14TH

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET CD RELEASE CELEBRATION

ROYAL TOAST

(on Cuneiform Records)
at the 45Bleeker 10:30PM
45 Bleecker Street, NYC

CLAUDIA:
Chris Speed – clarinet/tenor saxophone
Matt Moran – vibraphone/percussion
Ted Reichman – accordion
Drew Gress – acoustic bass
John Hollenbeck – drums
SPECIAL GUEST – Matt Mitchell – piano

——————————————————————————————————
SUNDAY JUNE 27TH

The JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE will kick off the Bang on a Can Marathon at NOON with “Perseverance”
at the World Financial Center Winter Garden

Woodwinds
Ben Kono flute/sopranosaxophone/alto saxophone
Jeremy Viner clarinet/tenor saxophone
Tony Malaby, Ellery Eskelin tenor saxophone
Bohdan Hilash bass clarinet/contra-alto clarinet/clarinet

Trombone
Mark Patterson, Mike Christianson, Jacob Garchik, Alan Ferber

Trumpets/Flugelhorns
Tony Kadleck, Jon Owens, Dave Ballou, Laurie Frink

Bass-Matt Clohesy
Drums/Composition-John Hollenbeck
Piano/Organ-Gary Versace
Vibraphone-Matt Moran
Voice-Theo Bleckmann
Conductor-JC Sanford

Listen to the entire recording on the NPR website “FIRST LISTEN”

On their fifth CD, Royal Toast, The Claudia Quintet raise a glass in salute to their regal muse with a set of new music fit for a king — albeit one with more refined tastes and open mind than your average monarch.

If a round table seems a wholly appropriate setting for this egalitarian ensemble (with an extra place setting this time out), theirs is as much Algonquin as Camelot, renowned for their sophisticated wit as well as their sharply-honed musical jousting.

As composer/leader John Hollenbeck points out, the title might also sound a bit “silly” —  but there’s something in its odd incongruity that exemplifies the band’s one-of-a-kind sound.

“I like toast,” Hollenbeck explains with characteristically laconic humor, “and I noticed that if you put ‘royal’ in front of something, it seems elevated.”

The Claudia Quintet has similarly been finding the majestic in the mundane (or vice versa) for more than a dozen years. Nowhere is that more evident than on Royal Toast, where Hollenbeck began by collecting song titles found in often unlikely sources, divorcing them from their original context, and devising music inspired by these evocative phrases.

Hollenbeck’s compositions somehow conjure raucous beauty from dizzying complexity, enticing the emotions with lilting melodies or irresistible grooves while engaging the cerebral side in a surreptitious workout. The music marries jazz, new music, post-rock — but no laundry list of influences is quite sufficient to describe their iconoclastic sound. Suffice it to say, you can feel secure bringing your hipster nephew and your math professor along to a gig, and everyone will go home happy.

Of course, no one could pull off such a a trompe l’oreille without a well-honed ensemble, and The Claudia Quintet has, through intensive collaboration since their 1997 debut, developed a language all their own. The music can best — perhaps only — be defined by the individuals who create it — Hollenbeck on drums, Drew Gress (Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch) on bass, Matt Moran (Slavic Soul Party, Mat Maneri, Ellery Eskelin) on vibraphone, Ted Reichman (Anthony Braxton, Marc Ribot, Paul Simon) on accordion, and Chris Speed (Bloodcount, Yeah No, Human Feel) on clarinet and tenor sax.

As attuned as the Quintet have become to each other, they’re each remarkably attuned to themselves, as Hollenbeck discovered while recording the CD. Bridging several of the pieces on the album are short improvised interludes in which each member plays a short improvised duet with himself — unbeknownst to them until the tracks were in the can. While they sound as if each side of the mirror is reacting to the other, they were actually played separately and married after the fact.

“I didn’t know if it was going to work, so I didn’t tell anybody I was doing it,” Hollenbeck admits. “And I couldn’t believe it because each one just worked fabulously. It was totally unbelievable how they breathed in the same places — Drew even has a rest in the same spot. I think the result is better, actually, than if I had asked them to react to their solos. That might have been a little artificial.”

The quintet is here supplemented by pianist Gary Versace, a longtime collaborator of Hollenbeck’s (including the composer’s Large Ensemble and in the Refuge Trio along with vocalist Theo Bleckmann).

“Gary and I have very similar aesthetics,” Hollenbeck says, “so what he plays is exactly what I would I be doing if I could play piano really well. Gary has a very composerly approach, so he’s very sensitive to the music and tries to make his part sound composed even when it’s not.”

The addition of Versace means that half of the band is now essentially playing percussive instruments, giving Hollenbeck more opportunity than ever to follow his polyrhythmic muse —  which emerges most fully on the gleefully intricate title track. But the album begins not with force but with lush intoxication. “Crane Merit” sets an unexpectedly atmospheric mood, enveloping the listener with an idyllic warmth.

Introduced by a Hollenbeck solo that gradually builds into funky propulsion, “Keramag” is the album’s toe-tappingest tune, densely wrought and utterly infectious. It and “Zurn” have the titles with the least concrete associations; the latter is a through-composed piece that generates considerable tension through an insistent drum/piano figure that is thoroughly dispelled by its ethereal finale.

“Sphinx,” on the other hand, brings very distinct associations to mind, which Hollenbeck followed through Egypt to African rhythmic influences. The word “Standard” crops up twice, and in each case the composer took this as a cue to use jazz as a leaping-off point, penning an abstracted ballad with “Ideal Standard” and a fractured anthem on “American Standard.”
The album closes with the elegiac “For Frederick Franck,” an homage to the Dutch-born painter, sculptor and author who died in 2006 at the age of 97. Hollenbeck’s personal connection to the artist comes via a sculpture park in upstate New York that Franck designed and where Hollenbeck proposed to his wife. But Franck’s expansive philosophy is also representative of Hollenbeck’s boundary-blurring approach to genre.

“The meaning of life is to see,” Franck espoused in his work, and The Claudia Quintet approach music with eyes wide open.

OTHER upcoming dates:

  • JUNE 13TH
    The JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE will perform at the Undead Jazz Festival at LPR at 10:20pm in NYC
  • JUNE 27TH
    The JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE will perform “Perseverance” at the Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center Winter Garden