Super Petite

The Claudia Quintet

2016, Cuneiform Records

Super Petite

John Hollenbeck  drums/percussion/composition
Chris Speed  clarinet/tenor saxophone
Matt Moran  vibraphone
Red Wierenga  accordion
Drew Gress  acoustic bass

Contrary to the current popular trend of making works of literature or recordings longer and larger, I have focused most recently on writing shorter compositions. Super Petite is an apt and amusing term used by one of the Claudia guys to describe a friend of ours and I thought it was the perfect way to describe this collection of shortish works – well, shortish for me anyway! Many of these compositions came from studies or ideas that I wanted to practice or explore – and through further exploration they organically evolved into musical portraits or musical shorts.

Nightbreak is based on Charlie Parker’s infamous break in Night in Tunisia. When I slowed it down I discovered a hypnotic quality that gave me a mood to work with.

JFK beagle, and its sister piece EWR beagle, I wrote in honor of those cute beagles at international baggage claim who enthusiastically sniff the luggage for contraband food.

A-List is the theme song for an imaginary video featuring The Claudia Quintet strutting down the red carpet. Think “Entourage” meets the “Geek Squad”.

Philly is written for the inventive drummer Philly Joe Jones and is based on one of his infamous licks, which I open the tune with.

Peterborough owes its inspiration to the MacDowell Colony and the quaint town in which it’s nestled.

Rose Rhythm is by the master musician Doudou N’Diaye Rose, who left this realm a few weeks before we recorded the album. At first I was using Rose Rhythm as something fun to play along with before realizing it might make a great arrangement for CQ.

If You Seek a Fox is both a short caricature of a stealthy fox and a thinly disguised dig at my least favorite TV news network.

Pure Poem is based on Pure Poem 1007-1103 by Shigeru Matsui.

I think I have eaten at Mangolds, a great vegetarian restaurant in Graz, Austria, more often than any other restaurant – even sometimes twice in one day! I am assuming the restaurant is named after one of their favorite vegetables, Mangold, or more familiarly in English, Swiss chard.

Claudia loves you,


Super Petite

“This is post-music. Some jazz, some folk, some pop-rock, some minimalism, some of this influence and more of that influence—and all of it is one step ahead of the current day. It’s the Music of Tomorrow, now.” – Dave Sumner, Bandcamp


“Rigorously executed but earthily grooving, dauntingly precise but flecked with hearty and intriguing improvised solos, the quintet’s set buzzed with freshness and vitality from start to finish. … For all the obvious effort and intelligence to Hollenbeck’s work, his songs could ultimately be straightforwardly emotional and moving.”
– Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen


“Super Petite is like savoring a long and lingering feast. There is much to enjoy, concentrate on, uncover and sample. The ten tracks each offer a morsel, and the full repast is oh so delicious.”
–Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition


“The bottom line? Every member of Claudia Quintet is a virtuoso; and while that may be true, the beauty of Claudia Quintet is that it’s a collection of five outstanding players whose focus is on the music, not unnecessary displays of pyrotechnics…though there was certainly more than a few sparks flying during their Back Stage appearance.”
–John Kelman, All About Jazz