An amazing New York band led by drummer John Hollenback in their 7th album after 15 years, with Drew Gress on bass, Matt Moran on vibraphone, Ted Reichman on accordion, and Chris Speed on reeds plus Philadelphia pianist Matt Mitchell.
Claudia Quintet, The
Released in: USA
"Drummer-percussionist and three-time Grammy nominee John Hollenbeck, one of the most distinctive and respected composers in jazz and new music, has created an estimable body of work since the late '90s with his Claudia Quintet. Hailed by Nate Chinen of the New York Times for their "clockwork intricacy and crisp premeditation ... [striking an] accord between the factions of progressive jazz, classical Minimalism and low-glare experimental rock," the Claudia Quintet tackles Hollenbeck's highly demanding works with a wry improvising spirit and a backbone of surging, mesmerizing rhythm.
Following up earlier celebrated albums including What Is the Beautiful?, Royal Toast, FOR, Semi-Formal, and I, Claudia - all on Cuneiform Records - and a self-titled debut on Blueshift CRI, the Claudia Quintet returns with September, its newest Cuneiform release. In the lineup are two newer players: accordionist Red Wierenga, like Hollenbeck an alum of the Eastman School of Music; and (on four tracks) bassist Chris Tordini, a frequent sub for Claudia's original bassist Drew Gress. Hugely in-demand as a sideman and an inspired bandleader in his own right, Gress appears on six of the 10 tracks that make up September.
Clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Chris Speed and vibraphonist Matt Moran, both Claudia members from the start, play with stirring virtuosity and give Hollenbeck's writing a sonorous warmth, balancing its more technical and rocking side. Unorthodox textures, fragmented beats and "bright tones filled with folky allusions and plaintive undercurrents" (Siddhartha Mitter, Boston Globe) continue to define the Claudia Quintet's unclassifiable output.
The new album, September, pays homage to a time of year when Hollenbeck seeks the isolation and creative focus of artist residencies. In the last dozen years - often in September - he's spent invaluable time at retreats in places as far afield as Italy, New Mexico and upstate New York. Writes Hollenbeck in the liner notes: "September is a wonderful month and, for me, the equivalent of Thursday, my favorite day of the week which I celebrated in song on the first Claudia Quintet CD!""-Cuneifrom
• Show Bio for John Hollenbeck
"John Hollenbeck is a composer of music uncategorizable beyond the fact of being always identifiably his. A conceptualist able to translate the traditions of jazz and new music into a fresh, eclectic, forward-looking language of his own invention, intellectually rewarding yet ever accessibly vibrant. A drummer and percussionist possessed of a playful versatility and a virtuosic wit. Most of all, a musical thinker - whether putting pen to paper or conjuring spontaneous sound - allergic to repetition, forever seeking to surprise himself and his audiences. [...]
Hollenbeck received degrees in percussion and jazz composition from the Eastman School of Music before moving to New York City in the early 1990s. He was profoundly shaped by the mentorship of two hugely influential artists: trombonist/arranger/composer Bob Brookmeyer and composer/choreographer Meredith Monk. His relationship with Brookmeyer reached back to the age of 14, when he attended the SUNY Binghamton Summer Jazz Workshop, and continued at Eastman, through NEA-funded composition study, and finally on the bandstand with Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra and in the studio with Brookmeyer and trumpet great Kenny Wheeler. For Monk, Hollenbeck composed and performed the percussion scores for five of her works: "Magic Frequencies," "Mercy," "The Impermanence Project," "Songs of Ascension" and "On Behalf of Nature."
Hollenbeck's awards and honors include four Grammy nominations; the 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the 2010 ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship; winning the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Contest in 1995 and 2002; Meet the Composer's Grants in 1995 and 2001; and a Rising Star Arranger win in the 2012 and 2013 DownBeat Critics' Polls as well as in 2011 for the JHLE as Rising Star Big Band. John was a professor of Jazz Drums and Improvisation at the Jazz Institute Berlin from 2005-2016 and in 2015 joined the faculty of McGill University's Schulich School of Music."-John Hollenbeck Website (http://johnhollenbeck.com/about/biography/)
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• Show Bio for Red Wierenga
"Red Wierenga is a pianist, accordionist, respectronicist, improviser, and composer based in New York City. His longest creative association is with the Respect Sextet, called "a group which has released one of the most compelling recordings of the year" by the Wall Street Journal, and "one of the best and most ambitious new ensembles in jazz" by Signal To Noise.
He has performed and/or recorded with artists including The Claudia Quintet, Ensemble Signal, Salo, the Fireworks Ensemble, and David Crowell.
Wierenga builds and performs with new interfaces for electroacoustic improvisation, working with analog and digital synthesizers.
He received his bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Harold Danko, Ralph Alessi, and Kevin Puts. After having studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague with Joel Ryan and Paul Berg, he received his Ph.D. from CUNY Graduate Center, where he was an Enhanced Chancellor's Fellow and where his teachers included Jason Eckardt, Douglas Geers., and David Grubbs He has taught at Baruch College and currently teaches at the Brooklyn College Center for Computer Music and works for the design-led music technology company ROLI."-Red Wierenga Website (http://redwierenga.com/?page_id=2)
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• Show Bio for Chris Speed
"Chris Speed is a composer, clarinetist and saxophonist - and is "one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city" (NYTimes). His own bands include Endangered Blood, Human Feel, yeah NO, Trio Iffy, Pachora and The Clarinets. He is a founding member of Jim Black's Alas No Axis and John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet (two of the most influential working bands today), works with Uri Caine (deconstructing works by Mahler, Mozart, Bach, Schoenberg, Gershwin) and maintains a busy career of touring, recording, performing, composing, practicing and teaching. Current projects include work with Craig Taborn's Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek's Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King's Trucking Co., Matt Mitchell Quartet, Mary Halvorson's Reverse Blue, Banda de los Muertos (NYC's only Banda band), as well as touring his latest project, Endangered Blood (with Black, Trevor Dunn and Oscar Noriega) which was featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts in 2012. (Endangered Blood 2010, Work Your Magic 2013 Skirl). "Speed's Endangered Blood originals stand out as his most melodically generous, accessible and warm batch of compositions he's yet to produce." -DownBeat ****Born in 1967, Speed grew up in the Seattle area where he met future colleagues Jim Black and Andrew D'Angelo, all of whom ended up in Boston in the late 80's where they formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. (Scatter 1992, Welcome to Malpesta 1994, Speak To It 1996, Galore 2007). While in Boston he studied at New England Conservatory and graduated in 1990. By 1992, after a short tour with the Artie Shaw Band (led by Dick Johnson), Speed moved to New York City where he started working with Tim Berne's (now legendary touring band) Bloodcount. (Unwound 1996, Discretion 1997, Saturation Point 1997, The Seconds 2006).In April 2006, he launched Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music" -Chris Speed Website (http://chrisspeed.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Matt Moran
"Matt Moran received a Master's degree in jazz composition from New England Conservatory in 1995. At NEC he studied with the visionary composer and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Maneri, and has continued to learn from Maneri through performances with him. Since moving to New York in 1995 he has performed both as leader and sideman, including billings for the Knitting Factory's What Is Jazz? Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Panasonic Village Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and the Vision Festival, as well as leading tours in the U.S. and Europe.
Also active as a performer, teacher, and curator in the Balkan folk music scene, Moran plays traditional percussion with artists such as Lefteris Bournias, Raif Hyseni, Demetri Tashie, and other master musicians from the Balkans who have immigrated to New York. With Slavic Soul Party!, he sparked "Balkan Cabaret", a downtown music series for Balkan and Balkan-inspired music.
Moran currently leads the groups Sideshow and Slavic Soul Party! He is also active performing and recording with John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, the Mat Maneri Quintet, Theo Bleckmann, Dan Levin, Nate Wooley, Kavala Brass Band, and Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band.
Vibraphonist and tunesmith Matt Moran "plays the vibraphone like a speed-chess master, always darting off into flurries of ingenious, unexpected activity" (Village Voice). He has performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Mat Maneri, Lionel Hampton, Combustible Edison, Ellery Eskelin, and Saban Bajramovic. Moran's sound is integral to an innovative group of New York musicians who blur the boundaries of composition, improvisation, and folk traditions."-Matt Moran Website (http://www.mattmoran.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Drew Gress
"Drew Gress (born November 20, 1959) is an American jazz double-bassist and composer born in Trenton, New Jersey, raised in the Philadelphia area, and currently based in New York City.
Gress became interested in jazz and the double bass while a teenager, joining the Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band, a nationally-prominent high school jazz ensemble, in 1975, spending two years as bassist and arranger for the group. His interest in composing original material for large ensembles, such as those of Johnny Richards, Billy May, and Pat Williams, led him to Baltimore's Towson State University in 1977, where he studied composition and counterpoint with Hank Levy, known for his work with Don Ellis and Stan Kenton. While at Towson, Gress established a playing relationship with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, with whom he cofounded Joint Venture with Paul Smoker and Phil Haynes. They released three albums on Enja Records between 1987 and 1994.
During the 1980s in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, he played with Sonny Stitt, Clifford Jordan, Albert Dailey, Mose Allison, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, and pianist Marc Copland, with whom he still plays today. He also served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory, Towson State University, and the Baltimore School for the Arts. He formed a quartet, Tekke, in 1989 with David Kane, Glenn Cashman, and Michael Smith.
In 1997, he cofounded the cooperative improvising trio Paraphrase with saxophonist/composer Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Together, they pursued a compositional approach to free improvisational practice. They recorded three live albums together and toured extensively.
In 1998, he released his first album as leader, Heyday, with his band Jagged Sky (featuring David Binney, Ben Monder, and Kenny Wollesen). 2001 saw the release of Spin & Drift with Uri Caine, Berne, and Rainey, in which he played pedal steel guitar for the first time.
Earlier in the 1990s, he served tenures as artist in residence at University of Colorado-Boulder and at Russia's St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Since 1992, Gress has maintained an extensive touring schedule, traveling to Europe, Asia, and South America. Those with whom he has and continues to work include Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane, Uri Caine, John Hollenbeck, Fred Hersch, Marc Copland, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Jack DeJohnette, John Surman, Ray Anderson, Erik Friedlander, Kenny Werner, Bill Carrothers, Ralph Alessi, Tony Malaby, Steve Lehman, and Edsel Gomez. To date, he has appeared on over 140 recordings, 4 of which have received Grammy nominations.
Gress' own ensembles have toured Europe four times since 2002, in addition to isolated festival appearances in Italy and Portugal. In 2004, the UK's BBC Radio and London's Guardian selected his quartet's live radio broadcast as Jazz Concert of the Year.
Composition awards include an NEA grant (1990), funding from Meet the Composer (2003), a Chamber Music America New Works Grant (2005), a CMA French-American Exchange Grant (2007), and an Encore Grant from that same organization (2008). He continues to compose for larger groups and has begun experimenting with virtual synthesizers."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Gress)
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Catalog ID: Rune 377
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Recorded in Brooklyn, New York on April 22nd, 2013 by Andy Taub.
john Hollenbeck-drums, percussion
Chris Speed-clarinet, tenor saxophone
Drew Gress-acoustic bass
Chris Tordini-acoustic bass
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2. September 9th Wayne Phases 10:37
3. September 25th Somber Blanket 6:27
4. September 29th, 1936 "Me Warn You" 10:27
5. September 22nd Love Is Its Own Eternity 4:48
6. September 18th Lemons 10:36
7. September 17th Loop Piece 6:54
8. September 24th Interval Dig 6:25
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10. September 12th Coping Song 5:43