John Hollenbeck’s versatility as a percussionist and composer is revealed in a body of work that challenges countless boundaries. Performances with Fred Hersh, Achim Kaufmann and Bob Brookmeyer have showcased Hollenbeck's melodic and sensitive small‑group jazz drumming. His unique approach to big band work is evident as a member of Bob Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra, the BMI Orchestra, Jim McNeely’s Tentet and as a frequent guest with the Village Vanguard Orchestra. He has performed and recorded with the WDR Big Band and the Maritime Jazz Orchestra with soloists John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone. John’s rock-infused drumming can be heard on recordings with the Cuong Vu Trio with Stomu Takeishi.
Hollenbeck's performance career stretches far beyond jazz. He has performed a variety of traditional musics from around the world, including klezmer performances with David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness and Frank London (of the Klezmatics), projects in Colombia with Antonio Arnedo, in Argentina with Fernando Tarres and with Astor Piazzolla’s pianist, Pablo Ziegler, at Carnegie Hall.
As a composer, Hollenbeck combines elements of his experiences in jazz and world music. The recipient of a B.M. in Percussion (1990) and a M.M. in Jazz Composition (1991) from the Eastman School of Music, Hollenbeck has received many awards and commissions including a National Endowment grant to study composition with Bob Brookmeyer (1994) and a Meet the Composer's Grant in 1995 and 2001. He won the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Contest in 1995 and 2002 and was awarded the 2002 IAJE Gil Evans Fellowship and 2003 IAJE/ASCAP Commission. Hollenbeck was also awarded a grant from Arts International to travel with his Claudia Quintet to Brazil in the spring of 2002.
Exceptionally creative and versatile, John continues to create a passionate new musical language based on world rhythms, lyricism, and spirituality: he composed "The Shape of Spirit", a piece for wind ensemble which was issued on the Mons label in 1998, and in1999 composed Processional and Desiderata for wind ensemble and orator. This composition, written for and featuring the voice and trombone of Bob Brookmeyer, was released on Challenge Records in 2001. The Cloud of Unknowing, commissioned by the Bamberg Choir in Germany was released in September 2001 on the Edel Classics label along with works by J.S. Bach, Igor Stravinsky & Paul Hindemith. Hollenbeck’s most recent chamber piece Demütig Bitten, was commissioned by the Windsbachner Knabenchor (Germany) and released on December 2004 on the Rondeau label along with works by Giovanni Gabrieli, Josquin des Prez and J.S. Bach.
In January 2002, John’s IAJE Gil Evans Fellowship Commission piece, A Blessing, featuring vocalist Theo Bleckmann, was performed to critical acclaim at the IAJE Conference; and in January 2003 his IAJE/ASCAP Commission, Folkmoot, was premiered in Toronto, Canada. John composed and performed the percussion score to Meredith Monk's Magic Frequencies and her newest work, Mercy, which was released on the ECM label in October 2002.
John released three discs on the CRI jazz imprint Blueshift in the winter of 2001/2002. The album no images presents an eclectic composer’s statement featuring Ray Anderson, Dave Liebman, Ben Monder, Ellery Eskelin, the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others (October 2001). No images was voted one of “the best jazz records of 2001" by Gary Giddins of the Village Voice. Quartet Lucy offers a union of spacious, understated, ethereal, and spiritual moods which reflect the influences of Brazilian and other world music folk traditions (January 2002); and The Claudia Quintet release showcases tremendous wit, tasteful improvisation, strong melodies and equally strong grooves (January 2002). This recording was voted one of the “ten best releases of 2002" by JazzTimes magazine. In 2004, the Claudia Quintet released its second recording, I, Claudia, on Cuneiform Records. This recording received 4 stars from DownBeat Magazine. In February 2005, John released his first large ensemble recording, A Blessing on Omnitone Records. His 2nd large ensemble recording will be released in August on Intuition Records with Jazz Big Band Graz. The Claudia Quintet will release it’s 3rd recording (2nd on Cuneiform Records) in September. John’s music is a bold attempt to combine a wealth of experience into a style that is as accessible as it is advanced.
Hello internet-jazz geeks!
I'm John Hollenbeck, your virgin host...ask me something, tell me something...I'm yours (temporarily)...hoping to have some interesting dialogues...."everything you've always wanted to know about Chris Speed"...."how does Ted Reichman get his hair to look like that?"...."is Drew Gress having an affair with his laptop?"..."which claudia quintet member has recently been arrested?"..."incorporating paradiddles into your spiritual practices"... "interesting avocado recipes"... "Is Bush evil ,stupid or both?...."is punctuation overrated?"..."is jazz overrated?"..."is jazz punctuation overrated?" (The executives at allaboutjazz asked me to be provocative)
Ok, now that I've got that out of my system, I'm also available for serious thoughts or inquiries too.
I'm very interested in the psychology of performing, connecting with others through music, using music as a tool for opening minds and hearts. Compositionally, I'm most interested in creating non-genre specific music that is unique but accessible. Drumming-wise I'm interested in the power of the quarter notes (as some of you may already know), and finding/exploring and using new acoustic textures/timbres.
Additional disclosure: I like Karen Carpenter and the song "Reminiscing" by the
Little River Band.
As for what I'm up to...
I just finished a SE US tour with my claudia quintet, we also recorded our next record which will come out on Cuneiform in September. My first large ensemble CD, A Blessing was just released on Omnitone Records...so I'm trying to fit in some promotional work for that. Right now I'm in Austria, mostly Vienna for the next week. I was just the house drummer for an interesting festival called "bass encounters", which of course featured many, many bassists (like Barre Phillips, NHOP, Rufus Reid, Miroslav Vitous among others). I'm now starting to rehearse with a group put together my Serbian-born bassist Nenad Vasilic... we will tour and record this week. When I get back to the States in early March I will jump into rehearsals with the Meredith Monk ensemble and with an Icelandic singer, Kristjana Stefansdottir (who I will record with). I've also got a couple of gigs at barbes with Tony Malaby and Theo Bleckmann. After that I go to SF with Fred Hersch and his Walt Whitmann Ensemble and also have a couple of gigs with Tony Malaby and Cory Combs in SF and Petaluma. After that I will undertake a wonderful day of fasting,acupuncture, and ayurvedic skin treatment.
(you think I'm joking , don't you?)
Feel free to ask or tell me anything.
PS I love these little links below the reply window that say "increase size, decrease size"...but I'm afraid to press them...
My wife wishes I had such an option... glad to have you on board, John.Originally Posted by John Hollenbeck
Welcome John :
As one former drummer/practicing composer-arranger to another, I've enjoyed your work ever sine the earliest NAO projects ,and Gary Hobbs ( who plays with my big band as well as practically everyone else on the Northern West Coast) have had several long running discussions about your approches to ensemble playing.
You certainly do keep a wide and varied schedule of projects going ..I hope you have time to drop in and chat with us once in a while.
BTW: I wouldn't screw with the "increase/decrease" buttons either ..always err on the side of caution!
Northwest Prevailing Winds
( Origin )
Swing ..or I'll kill you ( Bill Potts )
Welcome to the board!
I dig your stuff, especially I, Claudia and Quartet Lucy. It was also great to catch you guys at the Slought Foundation.
During the show you mentioned a school or a program in the Adirondacks where you mingled with other artists and composed music daily. Can you explain more about that program?
Are you coming to the Kimmel Center (Phila) with Fred and his Walt Whitman Ensemble?
And for godsakes, do not press the "decrease size" link!!
it's always a pleasure to hear your music, john. i think you have a real talent for getting the most out of the people you work with. the claudia quintet is a great example of some pretty strong personalities doing the team thing, and never predictably so.
people may be curious about some ancient history... i wrote about the hollenbeck phenomenon back in 2001, though (as evidenced by what you've got on the plate) it seems to have exploded in scope since then.
John, great to see you on this board. I was at St.FX when you tought there a few years back (but was one of many faceless guitarists) however I play with Ashely Chalmers all the time whom you sat on his level for. I remember how inspirartional you were to the student body. I remember you showing me some of your guitar parts when Conrad Herwig was on campus. Glad to see how well you are doing.
A big fan I am.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. I'm a big fan of your music and also your great wit and humor. I was Googling for the "how Claudia came to be" story and couldn't find it. Would you mind telling (retelling) it here?
And on the subject of provocative, or at least semi-interesting conversation... I searched iTunes for some of your music, and iTunes couldn't find any artists for "Claudia Qunitet", so it asked me, "Did you mean the Claude Quintet?" If you've ever wondered how search systems come up with these things, or even if you haven't wondered, here's how it works... If the search engine doesn't find an exact match for the words in it's database of stuff, then it drops out all the vowels of the search words and uppercase the letters (Claudia Quintet = CLD QNTT). Then it compares the new word(s) to a dictionary (or database) of words which also have the vowels removed. So, in this case, iTunes looked thru it's database of music for items that matched CLD QNTT and found a match that was referenced as "Claude Quintet". If a lot of matches are found (Cold Quintet, Could Quintet, etc.) then the scope can be narrowed by comparing on a character to character basis or other similar comparisons. Actually, Apple probably uses a more highly evolved method, but that's one method and it's called the Soundex Code or Method and I thought you, or perhaps Claudia, might find it interesting. (Some interesting things can be done (or learned) from applying these methods to notated music, too.) --Fabian
Originally Posted by Phil Kelly
When I'm playing in NAO, I feel like I'm just trying to do the right thing, what Bob wants (although he might feel differently at times!)...so I'm curious, what you mean by "my approaches".
Originally Posted by xricci
Thanks for having me! It is especially nice to see a journalist at a concert who is NOT working!
Yes, Fred is doing a little tour with this group:SF, Ann Arbor, NYC, Philly...
Tony Malaby is in the band and we snuck in a little trio gig in SF, which should be fun. It is worth the price of a ticket to hear Kurt sing "I celebrate myself!" (boy, have we had fun with that line!)
Thanks...I agree with you about the strong personalities!...it is a constant balancing act so they don't feel boxed in and also create something sonically as a band...like you said...a team thing...this has always been my goal with this group...in jazz-based music it is not so easy.Originally Posted by snoutinator
As for 2001, you were indeed one of the courageous few who could took a chance on me, an unknown entity. Most writers/promoters can't or aren't willing to be the first to praise an unknown. In my experience, and watching some of my friends, all it takes sometimes is one person to jumpstart a movement. I see too many followers, not willing to take a chance, although I understand the reasons, which are almost always economic.
Thanks, I had a great time at STFX. Glad to hear I was inspirational...sometime even though you make the effort,Originally Posted by Jakeweiser
it seems like you aren't touching people as strongly as is your intent.
Hi Fabian,Originally Posted by FabJazz
The story is basically on the claudia quintet CRI page on my website...here is the link. http://www.johnhollenbeck.com/frontpageclaudia.html
Thanks for the tip on the Soundex Method...I prefer the Rhythm Method...
Seriously, I would like claudia to be on itunes, but since CRI doesn't exist anymore and Cuneiform is not interested at this time in putting their music up on itunes...it doesn't seem possible. I hope this will change, since it seems to be where alot more people are buying their music.
Thanks for the invite to this board, and for setting such a great musical example for us all in so many ways! I'm pretty sure in a past conversation you mentioned that you had some (possibly) prepared material advising writers on how to structue/format percussion/drum parts. I'd still like to see it, and figured others would too. (Hope I'm not putting you on the spot!)
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