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!