John Hollenbeck was really hoping he could just record What Is The Beautiful? quietly and with a minimum of notice. In addition to diligent precautions taken to avoid being followed to and from the studio, John made all bandmates and recording personnel take a salty blood oath they’d never again speak of the album or dare let slip the finished product to anyone outside of Silver Spring, MD. Unfortunately, as we all know, the album was nefariously leaked and subsequently written about, extensively.
Among the many secret-breaking journos who weighed in were The New York Times, Los Angeles Times,Washington City Paper, New York City Jazz Record, AllAboutJazz.com, BBC.co.uk, Audiophile Audition,Rochester City Newspaper, Avant Music News, The Gig and Jazz After Hours. Further shattering the wall of secrecy were those who audaciously named WITB? to their year-end lists, including JazzTImes, New York TImes, All About Jazz.com, Rock Erie.com, The Big City Blog, Step Tempest, Capital New York…and even more too nefarious to list. How word really got out, we’ll never know, but rest assured John will be recording What Is the Beautiful 2: What’s Really Beautiful underground, or possibly under the sea.
And now, a special note to our friends who received gift cards for the holidays:
All of us know well the feeling of receiving the gift that is as flexible as it is thoughtful: the gift card. Like nothing else, the gift card says “I’ve figured out what general type of consumer good you’d enjoy, but have not burdened you unduly with the specifics. Instead of choosing a gift I can’t be totally certain you’ll love, I’ll just provide this narrowly allocated strip of electromoney and let you decide yourself.” It is with these gift-givers in mind that we here at Team Hollenbeck have come forth to complete the thought process: If you’ve already been gifted a gift card, why not spend your plastic dollars on John & Co. this winter? Complete the gift your favorite givers were just going to give you anyways: Claudia Quintet, JHLE, ONJ—From which John’s “Falling Men” was just nominated for a Grammy—all our projects and friends can be found on iTunes and Amazon.
Lastly, we invite you to share in a Hollenbeck composition of a different kind. Last month John’s longtime mentor & friend Bob Brookmeyer passed away at the age of 81. Please read here John’s elegy for the veteran master, a loving and deeply personal portrait of a legendary man bound to be long missed.