frankfurt radio big band with john hollenbeck, kate mcgarry, theo bleckmann & gary versace

2020, Flexatonic Records


John Hollenbeck · composer, arranger, conductor

Theo Bleckmann · voice
Kate McGarry · voice
Gary Versace · piano, organ

hr Radio Bigband
Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn
· alto/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute
Oliver Leicht · alto/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, piccolo
Ben Kraef · tenor/soprano saxophone, flute
Steffen Weber · tenor/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, alto flute
Rainer Heute · bari/bass saxophone, Bb/bass/contra-bass clarinet, flute

Frank Wellert · trumpet/flugelhorn
Thomas Vogel · trumpet/flugelhorn
Martin Auer · trumpet/flugelhorn
Axel Schlosser · trumpet/flugelhorn

Christian Jaksjø · trombone
Felix Fromm · trombone
Shannon Barnett · trombone
Manfred Honetschläger · bass trombone

Martin Scales · guitar
Hans Glawischnig · bass
Jean Paul Höchstädter · drums
Special guest: Claus Kiesselbach · mallet percussion, timpani

Songs You Like a Lot​, the third and final album in the Songs trilogy, differs from its predecessors in that these songs were chosen from a long slate of listener-nominated candidates. They include the traditional “Down By the River to Pray,” Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love,” James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up,” Newley & Bricusse’s “Pure Imagination,” the sole Hollenbeck original “Kindness,” and finally a radical rhythmic deconstruction of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” (renamed “Knows Only God”).

Hollenbeck reunites with longtime collaborators ​Kate McGarry​ and ​Theo Bleckmann​, whose sonorous, expressive voices breathe life into every arrangement. Pianist and organist ​Gary Versace​, like Bleckmann a mainstay of Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble and Refuge Trio, gets deep inside the harmonic structures, contemplative asides and unexpected twists that make up the set. Frankfurt Radio Big Band personnel come through with radiant solos of their own, including tenor saxophonist Steffen Webber, clarinetist Oliver Leicht, trombonist Christian Jaksjö, bassist Hans Glawischnig, guitarist Martin Scales and more.

“This project brought up questions I asked myself numerous times,” writes Hollenbeck in the liner notes. “What is arranging? Why arrange? Why arrange popular songs? Is it still a ‘pop’ song if it was not ‘popular’?” Hollenbeck also mentions his desire to “highlight facets of these songs that were not obvious to the listener in the original, perhaps revealing hidden and exciting new layers. I sought to emphasize material that is present in the original, but not featured or in the foreground. I also tried to rewind what I perceived may have been the original compositional process to then figure out what I would do from that same point of departure.”

Hollenbeck will bring the same creativity, curiosity, methodical process and raw inspiration to his undertakings with Flexatonic Arts, Inc., the latest bold new step in an already storied musical career.

RELEASE DATE: August 14th, 2020