As with Royal Toast (Cuneiform, 2010), the Quintet + 1 settles into its now familiar mix of chamber jazz-meets-pop-and-minimalism, a style that surely is in need of a label. Hollenbeck writes music suggestive of both Raymond Scott
When he turns his attention to Patchen, Hollenbeck's focus is directed to the theatrical and the ethereal. Elling fills the differing thespian roles well, applying a Brooklyn accent to "The Job," while the music stutters and lurches forward. He uses his announcer's voice on "Showtime/23rd Street Runs into Heaven," with bassist Drew Gress
impersonating his words, and finally, he does a creepy William Burroughs imitation to "Opening The Window."
From everyman, Hollenbeck turns to the heavens, utilizing Bleckmann's operatic voice to deliver the faithful praises of "The Snow is Deep On the Ground," his graceful spoken tone on "Beautiful You Are," and a whispered reading of the "Limpidity Of Silences," accompanied only by Mitchell's resonating piano.
Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet seems predisposed to the grace and fluidity of Patchen's poetry. Certainly, if the great man were alive today he would want to perform with this band.
Track Listing: Showtime/23rd Street Runs into Heaven; The Snow is Deep On the
Ground; Mates For Life; Job; Do Me That Favor; Flock; What Is the
Beautiful?; Beautiful You Are; Peace Of Green; The Bloodhounds;
Limpidity Of Silences; Opening the Window.
Personnel: John Hollenbeck: drums, percussion, keyboard; Ted Reichman: accordion; Chris Speed: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Matt Moran: vibraphone; Drew Gress: acoustic bass; Matt Mitchell: piano; Kurt Elling: voice (1, 4, 7, 10, 12); Theo Bleckmann: voice (2, 5, 8, 11).