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The Claudia Quintet at The Workmans Club

Read "The Claudia Quintet at The Workmans Club" reviewed by Ian Patterson

The Claudia Quintet The Workmans Club Dublin Ireland November 25, 2013 “Real fans do it on a Monday night," Improvised Music Company's Gerry Godley said in an address to the crowd that acknowledged the economic and logistical challenges facing promoters, musicians and fans alike. The Republic of Ireland's economy is still struggling half a decade on and at a time when incomes are stretched semi-improvised music isn't necessarily on the top of everybody's list ...

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The Claudia Quintet: September

Read "September" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

September is a month that signals the return of football, the advent of fall, and when the youngsters say goodbye to summer and venture back to school. But for bandleader and drummer John Hollenbeck, it's when he seeks isolation and concentrates on artist residencies. September is The Claudia Quintet's seventh-release as the celebrated ensemble reaffirms its domain as an extraordinarily hip and unique entity. Under Hollenbeck's direction, the band radiates a disparate focus that includes minimalistic oeuvres amid tightly-woven and ...

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The Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann: What Is The Beautiful?

Read "What Is The Beautiful?" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Poetry has always been the libretto of jazz music. Even before epic works of the late Gil Scott Heron like “H2O Gate Blues" or “Winter in America" (which inspired the nations of rap and hip-hop), there was Langston Hughes with bassist Charles Mingus on Weary Blues (Verve, 1958), the great Amiri Baraka, and A.B. Spellman. Then there was Kenneth Patchen, one of The Rebel Poets of America, an enigmatic legend who, if he chose, might have laid claim to creating ...

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The Claudia Quintet: What Is the Beautiful?

Read "What Is the Beautiful?" reviewed by Mark Corroto

American poet Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) has been a favorite of musicians for over half a century, from composer John Cage to saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and bassist William Parker. This everyman writer, considered to be the “father of the Beats," is their direct link to Walt Whitman and William Blake.Before Jack Kerouac performed his poems with a jazz band, Patchen was reciting poetry backed by Allyn Ferguson and Charles Mingus. His writings are a smattering of love poems to ...

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The Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann: What Is the Beautiful?

Read "What Is the Beautiful?" reviewed by Troy Collins

Jazz and poetry have a longstanding relationship that precedes the postwar experiments of the Beats, dating back to the Harlem Renaissance. As with any artistic collaboration, the cooperative efforts of improvising musicians and poets have yielded mixed results over the years. One of the first artists to successfully explore this territory (with John Cage and Charles Mingus) was Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972), a poet, novelist and painter whose innovative work ranges from political protest and sardonic humor to sentimental romance. In ...

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The Claudia Quintet: For

Read "For" reviewed by Tom Greenland

It's a challenge to describe the Claudia Quintet's sound: there are patent references, but distinct departures from these references as well. For, their newest project on Cuneiform, reunites Drew Gress (bass), John Hollenbeck (drums and electronica), Matt Moran (vibes), Ted Reichman (accordion) and Chris Speed (clarinet and tenor sax), continuing a trajectory established on three previous releases.Hollenbeck's nuanced part-writing fully exploits the tonal similarities of the frontline (clarinet, vibes & accordion); tracks like “Be Happy, “This Too Shall ...

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The Claudia Quintet: Semi-Formal

Read "Semi-Formal" reviewed by Judith Insell

To paraphrase the great Bill Evans, “jazz is not so much a style, but a process of making music. John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet is deeply immersed in this process. Semi-Formal is an interesting synergy of improvisation, Steve Reich-like minimalism and changing moods effected by varying grooves: techno rave drums, pseudo and authentic hip-hop, and polyrhythmic patterns. Semi-Formal harkens back to some forms of Gagaku, an ancient Japanese court instrumental music where each timbre, instrumental or chordal development ...

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The Claudia Quintet: Semi-Formal

Read "Semi-Formal" reviewed by Tom Greenland

Painter Georges Seurat, the inventor of pointillism, believed that small, discrete units of color could be effectively juxtaposed to interact in complex yet clarifying ways. John Hollenbeck, drummer and maestromind behind the Claudia Quintet's third release, Semi-Formal, seems to employ a similar modus operandi in his innovative compositional techniques. Writing for a quintet of sonically similar instruments, Hollenbeck exploits their individuality by leaving room on his canvas for each voice to sound alone, even as they are effectively conjoined in ...

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The Claudia Quintet: Semi-Formal

Read "Semi-Formal" reviewed by John Kelman

For the Claudia Quintet's third outing, the group expands on the vocabulary of I, Claudia and each member adds new instruments to his respective arsenal. The logical progression of Semi-Formal continues to explore the meeting point of through-composition, exploratory improvisation, and textural soundscapes that the group has been exploring since its 2002 self-titled debut, but with a clear evolution and a honed style that makes this its most fully-realized record to date.

When he first formed the quintet, drummer John ...

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The Claudia Quintet: I, Claudia

Read "I, Claudia" reviewed by Mark Sabbatini

Here's something I don't hear a lot of: avant-garde for people who appreciate music.

There's a glut of albums with new concepts, daring or just flat-out madness, but 2004's I, Claudia by the Claudia Quintet is a rare disc where something more insightful is happening at the assembly line. Snippets of classical, world beats, jazz, uber rock and... uh, “other stuff" make appearances, frequently built on unconventional groupings of sounds and/or instruments. What impresses is how the variety ...

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The Claudia Quintet: I, Claudia

Read "I, Claudia" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell

After debuting as a leader with three nearly simultaneous releases two years ago, drummer/composer John Hollenbeck returns with I, Claudia, the sophomore effort from his Claudia Quintet. Consisting of Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Ted Reichman on accordion, Matt Moran on vibes, and Drew Gress on bass, the band adeptly maneuvers the leader's quirky, odd-metered compositions, making them feel natural. From African-inspired polyrhythms and sheets of sound to funk grooves, modern classical nods, and free improvisation, Hollenbeck expresses ...


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