Quartet Lucy

Quartet Lucy

2002, CRI/Blueshift
2020, flexatonic records (re-issue)

Quartet Lucy

Dan Willis  English horn, tenor/sop sax, flute
Jonas Tauber  cello
Skuli Sverrison  electric bass, banjo sexto
Theo Bleckmann  voice, piano
John Hollenbeck  drums, piano, berimbau, comp.

Notes on Quartet Lucy by John Hollenbeck

Soon after Claudia took hold, I realized I needed a song-oriented outlet in which to explore the world music influences that I love; express the spiritual paths that inspire me; and re-interpret the influence of the ECM recordings that are a center piece in my love of music (such as Eberhard Weber’s “Later that Evening,” the recordings of Sidsel Endressen, Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Oregon and Pat Metheny).

I had just started playing with vocalist Theo Bleckmann and was awed by his versatility and spirit. Fortunately he responded eagerly to my new group concept. Somehow, I knew from the beginning that I needed English horn. My good friend and college roommate, Dan Willis, was the perfect choice. He is a great saxophonist/woodwind specialist, and was in fact an oboe major when we first met.

I originally was thinking of a group concept that would evoke the sound of Americana. Again, Reuben Radding stepped into the picture and recommended pedal steel guitarist Bob Hoffnar, one of the few players of that difficult instrument who could improvise in an non-Nashville environment AND read music. While Bob put his heart into it, I realized that my vision was actually more ECM than country, and that there was a good reason why composers who like fifths do not attempt to write for the pedal steel.

At that time I hired bassist Skuli Sverrison, who gave the quartet its glue. Words cannot express what Skuli’s unique sound concept brought to Lucy. Because Skuli is now very busy with Laurie Anderson, I chose to slightly alter Lucy’sscope and broaden her palette at the same time. I now use cello, which gives me the option of writing music with a chamber sensibility. Jonas Tauber is an accomplished chamber musician who also loves to improvise. He brings extreme amounts of delight and enthusiasm to every musical encounter.

The name Lucy is an amalgamation of:

1. A pet name for my college girlfriend – someone who was very interested in a “good song”.

2. The name of a girl I admired from afar in my high school days who, being a “southern belle,” epitomized some aspects of Americana that I love.

3. The Spanish word luz, meaning “light” or “enlightenment.”

The female name game doesn’t stop there. I have a dormant trio called the Mary-Noelle Trio – dedicated to the former “Empress of Festivities” at the Knitting Factory, Mary-Noelle Dana. She was, of course, very flattered (one way to get a gig at the KF Fest!).

Quartet Lucy