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



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.


 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.


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.



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.


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]


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