THE CLAUDIA QUINTET
led by composer/drummer John Hollenbeck
OCTOBER 2016 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
their 2016 Miniature Masterpiece
of 10 Concise Tunes
released on Cuneiform Records
[The Claudia Quintet | photo credit: Signe Maehler]
“This is post-music. Some jazz, some folk, some pop-rock, some minimalism, some of this influence and more of that influenceand all of it is one step ahead of the current day. It’s the Music of Tomorrow, now.”
Dave Sumner, Bandcamp
"Forging headlong into uncharted territory on the cusp of its twentieth anniversary, The Claudia Quintet continues to adapt aspects from multiple genres and styles for its melodically harmonious grooves, making Super Petite one of the Quintet’s most engaging and enjoyable releases to date."
Troy Collins, Point of Departure
"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 CLAUDIA QUINTET SUPER PETITE TOUR:
OCTOBER 2016 //
[WATCH: Claudia Quintet plays "Arabic" - Live at Jazz Baltica, 2009]
THE CLAUDIA QUINTET
STREAM/SHARE: "JFK Beagle"
stream: @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube
Cat. #: Rune 427, Format: CD / Digital Download
Genre: Jazz / Post-Jazz
Recorded at Brooklyn Recording in 2015
on the birthday of Chuck D and Nana Vasconcelos.
Recorded and mixed by Andy Taub.
Assistant Engineer: Don Piper.
Music produced by John Hollenbeck.
Mastered by Brent Lambert at The Kitchen Mastering.
Design by karlssonwilker inc.
This work was made possible by the generous support of the
Doris Duke Performing Artists Awards Program.
All compositions by John Hollenbeck, Grand Blvd. Music (ASCAP/GEMA), 2016.
Acclaimed Drummer-Composer John Hollenbeck
Pens Rich, Complex Tunes for an Era of Short Attention Spans
on THE CLAUDIA QUINTET's 8th album
- SUPER PETITE -
a Potent Package that Condenses Virtuoso Playing
and a Wealth of Ideas into Ten Compact Songs
“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
“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
"Claudia Quintet alludes to everything from Argentine tango to Pakistani qawwali music. [Hollenbeck’s] music thrives on unique harmonies, appealing melodies, and innovative blends of percussion…The Claudia Quintet deftly covers a large amount of musical territory and…is helping to define jazz today."
- Martin Johnson, The Wall Street Journal
Short doesn't necessarily mean simple. Drummer-composer John Hollenbeck acrobatically explores the dichotomy between brevity and complexity on Super Petite, the eighth release by the critically acclaimed, proudly eccentric Claudia Quintet. The oxymoronic title of the band's newest album on Cuneiform Records captures the essence of its ten new compositions, which pack all of the wit and virtuosity that listeners have come to expect from the Claudia Quintet into the time frame of radio-friendly pop songs.
As always, Hollenbeck's uncategorizable music - which bridges the worlds of modern jazz and new music in surprising and inventive ways - is realized by Claudia's longstanding line-up: clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Chris Speed, vibraphonist Matt Moran, bassist Drew Gress, and accordionist Red Wierenga. Over the course of 19 years and 8 albums, the band has forged an astounding chemistry and become expert at juggling mind-boggling dexterity with inviting emotion and spirit.
Like the band's name, the title Super Petite originated as an affectionate nickname for one of the band's fans. "I thought that was a funny juxtaposition," Hollenbeck recalls, "but it also became a good frame for the album because the tunes are short but can also be grand in a way - just not in length."
The concept was both a personal challenge for Hollenbeck as a composer always dealing with a wealth of ideas, but also a reaction to a tendency in modern music toward the epic. "I'm feeling things in the opposite direction," the composer explains. "When tunes are longer, there tend to be moments when not a whole lot is happening. If you have a really short tune, the whole thing has to be compelling."
[The Claudia Quintet | photo credit: Signe Maehler]
Nowhere is that principle better exemplified than in “Pure Poem,” which clocks in at under two minutes but is the most difficult piece the quintet has ever recorded. It was inspired by “Pure Poem 1007-1103” by Japanese poet Shigeru Matsui, which consists solely of sequences of Roman numerals and was used by controversial poet Kenneth Goldsmith to illustrate his theory of “Uncreative Writing.”
Hollenbeck draws inspiration from a number of diverse sources throughout Super Petite, including two unrecognizable interpretations of classic jazz which, in its earliest years, demanded short songs due to the limitations of the day’s recording media. The mesmerizing “Nightbreak,” which opens the album, is built upon a slowed-down translation of Charlie Parker’s famous break in “Night of Tunisia,” while “Philly” transforms an infamous Philly Joe Jones lick into an exercise in bebop deconstruction.
Two variations on the same theme, “JFK Beagle” and “Newark Beagle”, were sparked by the contraband-sniffing dogs that patrol the international baggage claim area of airports. They are the living embodiment of Super Petite utterly adorable but all business. “My problem is I want to pet the beagles but they’re so focused on that one thing,” Hollenbeck laments. “That piece began as a portrait, a combination of being really cute but staying focused. I don't know exactly what that would sound like musically, but that’s the challenge. In the end it doesn’t really matter to me if it happens or not, because it still leads me into a certain world.” In this case, the idea of international travel inspired Hollenbeck to use his passport number as a series of pitches that formed the basis for the pieces.
[The Claudia Quintet | photo credit: Piero Ribelli]
Similarly, “If You Seek a Fox” began life as a dig at the composer’s least favorite 24-hour cable news network, then morphed into an aural description of the eponymous animal. “A-List” began with an even more fantastical scenario, imagining the Claudia Quintet walking the red carpet. (“Think Entourage meets the Geek Squad,” as Hollenbeck wryly puts it in his liner notes.) If the tune’s urgent pulse is unlikely to attract the paparazzi, it’s nonetheless a compelling mood piece that Hollenbeck insists “feels almost like a Led Zeppelin tune in our heads.”
“Peterborough” was written in the titular New Hampshire town, where Hollenbeck spent six idyllic weeks in the fall of 2014 as a resident artist at the famed MacDowell Colony. It was there that Aaron Copland composed his Pulitzer-winning “Appalachian Spring,” which inspired the hint of Coplandesque American optimism in Hollenbeck’s combination of clarinet and vibes. The residency also provided the opportunity to explore the work of master Senegalese drummer/composer Doudou N’Diaye Rose, whose “Rose Rhythm” forms the basis for Hollenbeck’s “Rose-Colored Rhythm.”
Hollenbeck describes the MacDowell Colony as “a beautiful space where you can do whatever you want all day and no one bothers you. You can work hard all day on something, but you can also get out and ride a bike or run if you want. Then in the evening you see all these other people from different disciplines who have been doing the same thing as you, talk about what they’re doing, go to bed and do it all again the next day.”
The album concludes with “Mangolds,” a mood piece built from a slow, elongated melody line named for Hollenbeck’s favorite vegetarian restaurant in Graz, Austria, where he worked with the renowned Jazz Bigband Graz on his 2006 release Joys and Desires.
PROMOTIONAL TRACK //
If you'd like to share music from this release, please feel free to use the following track:
"JFK Beagle": @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube
PURCHASE LINKS //
ITUNES - AMAZON - BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC
ARTIST WEB SITES //
www.claudiaquintet.com - www.johnhollenbeck.com/band/the-claudia-quintet - www.facebook.com/ClaudiaQuintet/ - www.twitter.com/claudiaquintet
CLAUDIA QUINTET RELEASES ON CUNEIFORM
"The Claudia Quintet...is one of the most exciting groups in contemporary jazz. ...Each of the discs comes at you with the force of a manifesto: this band knows exactly what it is about, and the compositions charge forward with inevitability. ... the band now sounds so thoroughly integrated and seamless that you'd think it was a tenor-trumpet quintet or a 16-piece big band. ...The Claudia Quintet, inimitable, deserves to inspire."
- Will Layman, PopMatters