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


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. 


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


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


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.


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).


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)



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