John Hollenbeck – drums/percussion
Ted Reichman – Accordion
Chris Speed – Clarinet/Tenor Saxophone
Matt Moran – Vibraphone
Drew Gress – Acoustic Bass
Guest: Gary Versace - piano
Every once in a while, a recording really grabs your attention and is a powerful reminder of why we love this music. And even though Jazz is the “sound of surprise”, let’s face it: We’ve all listened to a lot of records over the years that were well crafted and well played, but didn’t offer anything new.
Right now I’m listening to Royal Toast by The Claudia Quintet, a group led by John Hollenbeck, and it’s energizing my morning. Hollenbeck composed all the pieces excepting some brief overdubbed solos from various group members, and he gets an amazing amount of textures from such a small group. The compositions themselves don’t follow a theme-solos-theme format, but seem to cycle with variations of instrumentation and rhythm. Gary Versace is a guest on the CD, but he’s so well integrated it’s hard to imagine how the groups sounds without him.
I also recently received Hollenbeck’s large ensemble recording, Eternal Interlude, and I can’t wait to spin it based on what I’ve heard on Royal Toast.