Claudia Quintet - For
"This is a true ensemble from top to bottom, a sonic equivalent to a hand-woven tapestry.... Impressive." - Downbeat.
"Fantastically 'new' compositions executed flawlessly, yet dangerously, by master players." -
Since their founding in the late 1990s, The Claudia Quintet has walked a unique path in contemporary jazz. Unlike most jazz ensembles where the particular musicians may come and go, drummer, composer and leader John Hollenbeck always wanted Claudia to be a 'band' with a sound not only determined by the compositions and the instrumentation, but with the actual players who perform the music. This conception is why Claudia has had an immediately identifiable sound since its inception and why I am taking the time to name the other musicians in the group who are able to both play the intricate compositions that John hands them but to also improvise within and around these compositions and give them life. Drew Gress-acoustic bass, Matt Moran-vibes, Ted Reichman-accordion and Chris Speed-clarinet and tenor sax all make Claudia the fantastic band that it is. Since Cuneiform started working with Claudia on their second album in 2004, the band has met with tremendous and growing acclaim and success, both for their records and their live shows, which has pleased me immensely, as they are pursuing a completely singular path in 'jazz' music and while they completely deserve to have an audience for their singular music, it was by no means assured. An astonishing band with a huge range of emotional depth and with appeal far beyond strictly 'jazz' listeners. For this, their fourth album, they've released an album of dedications. My cornering John after a show in 2002 when they were up and coming unknowns and basically badgering him about why he needed to sign with Cuneiform may be the smartest thing I've done this decade.
"They don't really sound like anyone but themselves....Brilliant." - bbc.co.uk