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



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.


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.


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.”


Learn more and read the complete press release here.


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.


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.’”