396

Claudia Quintet: For

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Claudia Quintet: For The brainchild of percussionist John Hollenbeck, the Claudia Quintet has navigated the boundary lines between free jazz, contemporary composition, progressive rock and electronica so successfully that its output is virtually uncategorizable. For, the aptly titled fourth album from the ceaselessly inventive group, offers a slight departure from its last record.

Semi-Formal (Cuneiform, 2005), used brief minimalist interludes to segue from one tune to another, much like a suite. Less conceptually arranged, this album is comprised of a varied selection of tributes, with Hollenbeck dedicating each tune to a personal inspiration.

Hollenbeck is joined by the regular Claudia line-up of clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Chris Speed, accordionist Ted Reichman, vibraphonist Matt Moran and bassist Drew Gress. Alternating jovial melodies and captivating rhythms with bittersweet lyricism and somber reflection, the acoustic quintet spins otherworldly sonic tapestries that occasionally mimic electronic effects.

A Claudia first, "For You," uses prepared electronic tape and sporadic spoken word to paint a minimally atmospheric tone poem unlike their previous work. Conceptually isolated, it contrasts with the album's inspired hybrid of complex rhythms and intricate harmonic counterpoint.

Such elaborate ebullience can be heard immediately on the opener, "I'm So Fickin' Cool." Relentlessly upbeat, the tune seamlessly escalates from modish post-rock funk to Klezmer-inspired celebration. Gress' subterranean bass line is accented by Moran's scintillating vibraphone accents as Hollenbeck's accelerating tempo whips Speed and Reichman into a polyphonic frenzy of caterwauling clarinet and pneumatic accordion. "Be Happy" is a dense mosaic of symmetrical polyrhythmic drive and interlocking harmonic counterpoint. Cerebral but not stuffy, the tune builds to a rousing anthem delivered with a zeal worthy of its title.

The propulsive, roiling free jazz of "Rug Boy" is balanced by the languorous bluesy lilt of "This Too Shall Pass" and the spirited, minimalist chamber excursion "August 5th, 2006." With mercurial irreverence, Hollenbeck fuses The Carpenters' bittersweet melody "Rainy Days and Mondays" to Stan Kenton's bouncy arrangement of "The Peanut Vendor." The closer, "Three Odes: Admiration, Nostalgia, Pity" sweeps gracefully through a series of understated moods, succinctly encapsulating the quintet's capabilities.

A fertile blend of infectious grooves, euphonious melodies, rich harmonies, adventurous improvisation and cinematic ambience, For is another winning chapter in the saga of the peerless Claudia Quintet.


Track Listing: I'm So Fickin' Cool (for Fitz Pauer); August 5th, 2006 (for Kate Schroeder and family); Be Happy (for S.N. Goenka); This Too Shall Pass (for Tom Moran and family); Rug Boy (for Debbie Clapper); For You; Rainy Days/Peanut Vendor Mash-up (for all music teachers); Three Odes: Admiration (for Peter Garland), Nostalgia (for Jan Garbarek), Pity (for Mary Cheney).

Personnel: Chris Speed: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Ted Reichman: accordion; Matt Moran: vibraphone, vocals/lyrics (6); Drew Gress: acoustic bass; John Hollenbeck: drums, percussion, electronic tape preparation (6).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Nihil Novi" CD/LP/Track Review Nihil Novi
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Flying Machines" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Machines
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 9, 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!