464

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: Eternal Interlude

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: Eternal Interlude In addition to leading the unclassifiable Claudia Quintet and performing numerous sideman duties, composer and percussionist John Hollenbeck is renowned for his inimitable multi-layered writing. Hollenbeck studied under composer Bob Brookmeyer before charting a unique path in creative improvised music, incorporating elements of minimalism, post-rock and indigenous folk music into his eclectic compositions. As leader of a twenty piece Large Ensemble, he expands the sonic palette of traditional big band writing with his unorthodox approach.

Featuring a series of commissions from jazz orchestras around the globe, Eternal Interlude is the Large Ensemble's sophomore effort, following their debut, A Blessing (Omnitone, 2005). Employing a wide range of instrumental sonorities, these kaleidoscopic pieces invoke the rich tone colors and varied dynamics of contemporary classical music as much as the muscular power of the original big bands.

An aficionado of new music with a predilection for the hypnotic rhythms of the early minimalists, Hollenbeck also serves as regular percussionist for composer Meredith Monk. Sharing Monk's fascination with the endless timbral potential of the human voice, Hollenbeck employs fellow Monk Vocal Member Theo Bleckmann as the Ensemble's lead voice, who lends an air of tranquility to even the most forceful proceedings. Though the band can swing like mad, it is their masterful restraint during introspective passages that most impresses. "The Cloud" is indicative—a placid tone poem woven from a billowy mosaic of delicate flutes, somber brass and hushed voices.

Excelling at atmospheric impressionism, the Ensemble also swings old school, demonstrated by the cubist assemblage "Foreign One," a punning play on Thelonious Monk's "Four In One." Opening with a ramshackle piano line and rousing thicket of horns, the piece vacillates between swirling contrapuntal charts and serene interludes, subtly suggesting Monk's mercurial intervals. Updating the classic Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band sound with Frank Zappa-esque chutzpah, "Perseverance" features a string of vociferous saxophone solos, the leader's pneumatic drumming and intermittent ethereal detours.

Revealing more exotic influences, the ebullient "Guarana" mixes Latin American rhythms with infectious ostinatos, invoking Steve Reich as readily as Gil Evans. The title track offers a summation of Hollenbeck's interests—an epic work that builds from lush pointillism to soaring harmony. Opulent musings ascend to anthem-like intensity as cagey horn arrangements alternate with Bleckmann's dulcet vocalese—a panoramic canvas that Hollenbeck sketches with scintillating color.

Like fellow Brookmeyer graduates Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and Maria Schneider, Hollenbeck strives to preserve the big band tradition by infusing it with novel new ideas. Eternal Interlude is a striking example of the future, today.


Track Listing: Foreign One; Eternal Interlude; Guarana; The Cloud; Perseverance; No Boat.

Personnel: John Hollenbeck: drums, composer, whistling (4); Ben Kono: flute, soprano and alto saxophone, whistling (4); Jimmy Viner: clarinet and tenor saxophone; Tony Malaby: tenor and soprano saxophone; Dan Willis: tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, English horn, whistling (4); Bohdan Hilash: clarinet, bass and contra-alto clarinet, whistling (4); Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone (5, 6); Rob Hudson: trombone, whistling (4); Mike Christianson: trombone, whistling (4); Jacob Garchik: trombone, tenor horn (2), whistling (4); Alan Ferber: trombone; Tony Kadleck: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jon Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn, whistling (4); Dave Ballou: trumpet, flugelhorn; Laurie Frink: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kermit Driscoll: acoustic and electric bass; Gary Versace: piano, organ, keyboard; Matt Moran: mallet percussion (1, 3, 4); John Ferrari: mallet percussion (2, 5, 6); Theo Bleckmann: voice, whistling (4); JC Sanford: conductor.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Inner Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Circle
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Songs From Afar" CD/LP/Track Review Songs From Afar
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Reinvented" CD/LP/Track Review Reinvented
by Jim Olin
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Otterville" CD/LP/Track Review Otterville
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!