Composer, drummer, percussionist, educator
It’s traditional, when paying compliments to drummers, to draw comparisons with the octopus, implying agility beyond the means of a paltry pair of human hands. But when considering John Hollenbeck, the multi-limbed creature that seems most appropriate to invoke is the mythical hydra; for while Hollenbeck is certainly no stranger to rhythmic intricacy, they're ideas that seem to spring forth like so many heads, two more arising as one falls away. 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. The prolific and unpredictable nature of Hollenbeck’s output has been evident since he first emerged as a leader in late 2001. Since then, he has released nomerous records with his various groups, all of them highly recognized in the world of Jazz. Among Hollenbeck's projects is the partnership with the iconoclastic vocalist Theo Bleckmann, with whom he continues to collaborate in a variety of offbeat settings. Along with keyboardist Gary Versace, they form the Refuge Trio, as boundary-free a small group as one is likely to find. The Claudia Quintet, is Hollenbeck’s longest-running ensemble. Over the course of its eight CDs, Claudia has cemented its reputation as one of the most innovative and adaptable units in modern jazz, so deftly attuned to one another that Hollenbeck’s most dizzying compositional leaps are taken with an air of playfulness and skewed humor. Furthermore, Hollenbeck has been acclaimed for his unique twist on big band music - most notably through the work of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, which trades the gale force blowing of most such bands for a multi-hued palette of tonal colors and rich, evocative atmospheres. The JHLE received Grammy nominations for both of its releases: A Blessing in 2006 and eternal interlude in 2009. One of Hollenbeck’s earliest appearances on record was as the composer of “The Shape of Spirit,” a piece for wind ensemble issued on the Mons label in 1998. The following year he composed “Processional and Desiderata” for wind ensemble and orator (released by Challenge Records in 2001), written for and featuring the voice and trombone of John’s mentor, Bob Brookmeyer. 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 reaches 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. 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.
Claudia Quintet Live at Jazz Baltica 2009 «arabic»
The Claudia Quintet performs Peterborough @L'OFF Jazz 2016
The Claudia Quintet John Hollenbeck - Sept 9th - TVJazz.tv