Reviews that mention John Hollenbeck

March 8, 2018

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble

All Can Work
New Amsterdam NWAM094

By Ken Waxman

Drummer John Hollenbeck convened 20 of New York’s most accomplished improvisers to interpret his newest compositions and arrangements. Concerned mostly with the harmonic relationship among instrumental sections and textures which blend into pastel billows, Hollenbeck’s conception is horizontal and flowing with limits on solos. It’s characterized by the kiss, composed for a Romeo and Juliet project, which embeds pianist Mat Mitchell’s dynamic theme elaborations within a buoyant, sprightly narrative. That said, the introductory Lud is built around multiple idiophone vibrations cushioned by horn breaths and which quickly draws you into Hollenbeck’s multiple creations. The concluding “The Model”, lifted from the repertory of German electronica band Kraftwerk is light, bracing and wraps up the session with hints of a spirited “I Love Paris”-like vamp. MORE

December 11, 2016

Anna Weber’s Simple Trio

Binary
Skirl Records 033

Circadia

Advances and Delays

SOFA A551

Franklin Kiermyer

Closer to the Sun

Mobility Music MMII016

Bennett/Johnston/Mezzacappa/Rosaly

Shipwreck 4

NoBusiness Records NBCD 67

Michael Vlatkovich

Myrnofant’s Kiss

pfMentum CD 095

Something In The Air: Catching up with Canadian Expats

By Ken Waxman

Q: What’s the best way to become famous in Canada? A: Leave the country. Unfortunately that hoary jape still has currency in 2016, especially if you want to be a renowned actor. Music is less aggressive and plenty of first-class musicians make their home in the dominion; some foreigners even relocate here. Still for many improvisers concerns, both personal and professional, cause them to abandon their native land. Expatriation often means interaction with a wider crew of players than if they had stayed put and these recent discs capture the results of these challenges. MORE

November 11, 2016

Claudia Quintet

Super Petite
Cuneiform Records Rune 427

By Ken Waxman

Acclaimed long before he joined the faculty of McGill’s Schulich School of Music last year, with Super Petite American composer-percussionist John Hollenbeck indicates one of many reasons why a Donald Trump-obsessed United States’ loss is our gain. Consisting of 10 tracks which are meticulously crafted as if shaped by a master diamond cutter, each manages to convey a flowing simplicity, but includes enough worldly sonic jolts to stave off placidity.

Tunes such as “JFK Beagle” and “Newark Beagle” for instance use accordionist Red Wierenga’s tremolo shimmers to replicate a canine’s exuberance, while their serious airport-sniffing work is characterized by a stringent tone conveyed by tenor saxophonist Chris Speed. Alternately if Drew Gress’s walking double bass grounds the movement of those on the A-List, then squeeze-box surges lustily underlie the swing in the step of the participants. Although the titles are evocative, tracks aren’t really programmatic but are there to balance the players’ interpretative skills. For instance Speed’s clarinet line that stretches outwards like a fire hose defines the near-static mood piece that is Mangold as effectively as melded vibes-accordion ripples atop percussion pops. MORE

June 16, 2016

Samo Salamon Bassless Trio

Unity
Samo Records 2016

Continuing his experiments with a bass-less trio, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon has put together a super group of sorts to explore the challenges of having one chordal instrument – Salamon’s – take on both the melodic and rhythmic roles. Plus he has the perfect helpmates on board. Besides leading his own ensembles, American drummer John Hollenbeck has worked in many groups, as has the now Graz-based, British tenor and soprano saxophonist Julian Argüelles. Like a series of engineering diagrams Salamon’s 10 compositions delineate positions for the players. But like constructing a sturdy structure, each operation takes place simultaneously, with the linkage creating the decisive form. MORE

December 6, 2014

Anna Webber

Simple
Skirl Records 027

Stemeseder/Gray/Webber

Jagged Spheres

No label No #

By Ken Waxman

A Brooklyn resident since 2008, Kelowna B.C.-native Anna Webber’s work has followed two trajectories aptly defined on these releases. A tenor saxophonist/flutist who studied music in Montreal, NYC and Berlin, she has an urban side – reflected in the cooperative Jagged Spheres trio’s emphasis on seamlessly combining composition and improvisation in its work – plus a rustic one which permeates her compositions on Simple. That CD’s pieces were all written during a Webber sojourn on Bowen Island, near Vancouver. MORE

December 1, 2014

John Hollenbeck/Alban Darche/Sébastien Boissau/Samuel Blaser

JASS
Yolk Music J2059

Squakk

Willisau & Berlin

Intakt Records 231 CD

Co-operation and self-expression are the watchwords of these trombone-reeds quartets as each works out a program that swings unabashedly while making room for dexterous arrangement and free-form soloing. A retrofit of an existing trio, the all-German Squakk adds the acknowledged skills of Rudi Mahall on clarinet and bass clarinet plus his recorded debut as a baritone saxophonist to a band consisting of trombonist Christof Thewes, bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener. A more international affair, JASS consists of French musicians, tenor saxophonist Alban Darche and bassist Sébastien Boisseau, plus two Berlin-based expats: American percussionist John Hollenbeck and Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser. MORE

October 7, 2012

Guy Klucevsek

The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour
Innova 819

By Ken Waxman

Probably the only person who bridges the gap among Slovenian polkas, Tex-Mex ballads, Erik Satie and John Zorn, is accordionist Guy Klucevsek. Assisted by more than a dozen other musicians, Klucevsek has come up with 13 performances here that show off every aspect of his keyboards, buttons and bellows skills and makes sure everyone has a good time as he does so.

Crucially though, the reason why The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour impresses on every level is the accordionist’s insistence on treating each of the compositions with equal deference. Three so-called hymnopedies, dedicated to Satie, for instance, including “Hymnopedie No. 2” with Dave Douglas advancing a legato variant of baroque trumpeting alongside Klucevsek’s pressurized accordion stops, are performed with the same serious intent as “The C&M Waltz”. The latter, honoring Klucevsek’s cousins, who have been waltzing to Slovenian music for more than half a century, includes the proper pumps and sways in its exposition, while subtly incorporating improvised obbligatos from Klucevsek and fellow squeeze-box specialist Alex Meixner. MORE

February 5, 2012

Tony Malaby’s

Novela
Clean Feed CF 232

Olaf Rupp/Joe Williamson/Tony Buck

Weird Weapons 2

Creative Sources CS197 CD

Splice

LAB

Loop Records 1013

Bioni-Solberg-Brow

Hopscotch

ILK 179 CD

Something In The Air:

Expat Canadians Create High-Class Improv

By Ken Waxman

Almost from the time the professional music business was established in this country, the expected route for success has been for artists to head off to the larger market down south and set up shop there. Canadians from Percy Faith and Maynard Ferguson to Joni Mitchell and Teresa Stratas effectively followed that formula. But today, as American musical hegemony lessens and modern communications almost literally shrink the world, musicians, especially those who play improvised music, can demonstrate that a permanent home in Europe is as beneficial as becoming an American resident. MORE

April 8, 2009

Peter Brötzmann/Fred Lonberg-Holm

The Brain of the Dog in Section
Atavistic ALP 186 CD

Tony Malaby Cello Trio

Warblepeck

Songlines SGL SA1574-2

Hardest working man in cello business, Chicago-based Fred Lonberg-Holm is the point of intersection for these sessions. More to the point, even though both feature his strings and electronics plus the talents of an unfettered saxophonist – as well as percussionist John Hollenbeck on Warblepeck – the results couldn’t be more different.

Partnered alongside Lonberg-Holm on The Brain of the Dog in Section is veteran Peter Brötzmann playing alto and tenor saxophones, Bb clarinet and torogato in his usual take-no-prisoners style. Lasting fewer than 38 minutes both men demonstrate how stark, unfettered, harsh improvisation reveal the essence of improvisation. MORE

April 8, 2009

Tony Malaby Cello Trio

Warblepeck
Songlines SGL SA1574-2

Peter Brötzmann/Fred Lonberg-Holm

The Brain of the Dog in Section

Atavistic ALP 186 CD

Hardest working man in cello business, Chicago-based Fred Lonberg-Holm is the point of intersection for these sessions. More to the point, even though both feature his strings and electronics plus the talents of an unfettered saxophonist – as well as percussionist John Hollenbeck on Warblepeck – the results couldn’t be more different.

Partnered alongside Lonberg-Holm on The Brain of the Dog in Section is veteran Peter Brötzmann playing alto and tenor saxophones, Bb clarinet and torogato in his usual take-no-prisoners style. Lasting fewer than 38 minutes both men demonstrate how stark, unfettered, harsh improvisation reveal the essence of improvisation. MORE

October 8, 2008

Variations on a Theme

Guelph Jazz Festival Musicians On Their Own
Extended Play

Barry Guy/Mats Gustafsson/Raymond Strid

Tarfala

Maya MCD0801

Junk Box

Cloudy Then Sunny

Libra Records 203-019

John Zorn

News For Lulu

hatOLOGY 650

Matana Roberts

The Chicago Project

Central Control CC1006PR

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet

Tabligh

Cuneiform Rune 270

AMMÜ Quartet

AMMÜ Quartet
MORE

February 13, 2006

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET

Semi-Formal
Cuneiform Rune 217

Establishing himself as an in-demand percussionist and band leader, New York-based John Hollenbeck usually has several parallel projects on the go. While being on-call in both his roles for associates as different as Meredith Monk, pianist Fred Hersch, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and even Klezmer Madness proves his adaptability, it sometimes adds unforeseen pressures to his own bands.

Thus while The Claudia Quintet, which has been together since 1997, is a cohesive ensemble, you sometimes get the feeling that a few too many influences are on show. Subsequent tunes ping-pong from New music inflections to Middle Eastern slurs and from contrapuntal jazz time to floating Klangfarbenmelodie that abuts AMM-like minimalist territory. MORE

November 14, 2005

JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE

A Blessing
OmniTone OTI 15209

Already praised as a first-class drummer, composer and combo leader, John Hollenbeck now shows that he can handle the writing, arranging and guiding of an 18-piece ensemble as fluently as his other talents.

Since for all reports his drumming is a clear-headed and multi-directional as it is on A BLESSING, is it any wonder that his employers have ranged from mainstreamers Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Konitz, more advanced players like Brad Shepik and Jorrit Dijkstra plus New Music doyen Meredith Monk? MORE

May 10, 2004

POING

Giants of Jazz
The Legendary Royal Records RR 90 210

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET
I, Claudia
Cuneiform Rune 187

Hand another accolade to 30-something musicians -- they’ve finally liberated the accordion.

Once the preserve of polka bands -- or worse -- Lawrence Welk’s champagne music, the reedy sound of the bellows and keys has made distinct inroads into contemporary improv in the hands of stylists from both Europe and North America. Two of the most accomplished -- Oslo’s Frode Haltli and New York’s Ted Reichman -- help shape the sound of these two bands. MORE

January 8, 2002

JOHN HOLLENBECK

No Images
CRI Blueshift 2002

JOHN HOLLENBECK
Quartet Lucy
CRI Blueshift 2003

JOHN HOLLENBECK
The Claudia Quartet
CRI Blueshift 2004

Moving among improv, big band jazz, New music and song-based material, percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck has made a name for himself in New York over the past half-decade. During that time, Hollenbeck, who also has a master’s degree from Rochester’s Eastman School of Music has worked with folks as varied as dancer/composer Meredith Monk, arranger Bob Brookmeyer, “downtown” trumpeter Cuong Vu and Klezmer brassman Frank London. MORE

December 24, 2001

CUONG VU

Come Play With Me
Knitting Factory KFW 298

No one is likely to confuse trumpeter Cuong Vu with a neo-con young lion.

Although he’s young enough (28), educated enough (the New England Conservatory) and experienced enough (including a touring gig with the Pat Metheny Group), he doesn’t seem interested in the rote bebop recreations that characterize other young trumpeters. Working with the likes of Laurie Anderson and David Bowie as well as more jazz-oriented types, he’s evolved a distinctive, electronics-influenced style that with this band almost takes on the trappings of a rock power trio. MORE