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

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’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!



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.



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… 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.



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: