Jazz Off the Record

Advertisement / Publicité

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

John Hollenbeck
Songs You Like a Lot

Flexatonic Records 001

Just released on John Hollenbeck’s newly created imprint, this album is the final installment of a trilogy of big band recordings dibe with the HR radio jazz orchestra in Frankfurt. Like his previous efforts, Songs I Like a Lot and Songs We Like a Lot, Hollenbeck has flexed his arranger chops once more, driving the crew from his drum set. The tune selections, it must be noted, were actually chosen by the listening audience who were asked to submit its picks. The selections are decidedly pop with numbers by Joni Mitchell (Blue), the Bee Gees (How Deep is Your Love), James Taylor (Fire and Rain)), Peter Gabriel (Don’t Give Up), Anthony Newly (Pure Imagination) and Brian Wilson (God Only Knows), with a bonus original (Kindness) from the leader. For this song project, two vocalists are featured prominently (together and separately), Hollenbeck’s standing partner in crime Theo Bleckman, the other Kate McGarry. The prevailing mood of the album is rather dreamy, magnified by the dense yet lush harmonic envelopes around the ethereal-sounding vocals. Big-band fare this is not, save for the more heavily accented and insistent Wilson number at the end. While there are several instrumental solos strewn throughout, it is the group’s sound that shines the most. Hollenbeck makes good use of elements from Gil Evans and Bob Brookmeyer while incorporating some of the characteristic repetitive rhythmic figures fashioned by the American minimalists.This is an album worth putting on for friends who may not have particular affinities for jazz. But given these opulent readings, it will also be interesting to see, as Hollenbeck muses in his notes, how fans of these pop icons will react to these takes.

Advertisement / Publicité

For more on John Hollenbeck, read here.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Marc Chénard is a Montreal-based multilingual music journalist specialized in jazz and improvised music. In a career now spanning some 30 years, he has published a wide array of articles and essays, mainly in Canada, some in the United States and several in Europe (France, Belgium, Germany and Austria). He has travelled extensively to cover major festivals in cities as varied as Vancouver and Chicago, Paris and Berlin, Vienna and Copenhagen. He has been the jazz editor and a special features writer for La Scena Musicale since 2002; currently, he also contributes to Point of Departure, an American online journal devoted to creative musics. / / Marc Chénard est un journaliste multilingue de métier de Montréal spécialisé en jazz et en musiques improvisées. En plus de 30 ans de carrière, ses reportages, critiques et essais ont été publiés principalement au Canada, parfois aux États-Unis mais également dans plusieurs pays européens (France, Belgique, Allemagne, Autriche). De plus, il a été invité à couvrir plusieurs festivals étrangers de renom, tant en Amérique (Vancouver, Chicago) que Outre-Atlantique (Paris, Berlin, Vienne et Copenhangue). Depuis 2012, il agit comme rédacteur atitré de la section jazz de La Scena Musicale; en 2013, il entame une collabortion auprès de la publication américaine Point of Departure, celle-ci dédiée aux musiques créatives de notre temps.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.