Claudia Quintet - I, Claudia
The 2nd release by this sensational 'jazz and beyond' ensemble. Their music, while clearly influenced by the jazz idiom, goes far beyond jazz, and many parts of this record have more in common with musicians such as L'Ensemble Raye, Hamster Theatre, Nimal, Von Zamla and others. This album demonstrates that, "Innovative jazz does not have to be harsh, angry, loud, shrill or grating; it can be delicate, witty, ethereal and radiantly lyric, as the Claudia Quintet pointed out..." [Chicago Tribune]. Formed by composer/drummer John Hollenbeck in 1997, this NY ensemble creates music that explores the edge in a manner that captivates and enthralls novice listeners, and keeps experienced fans returning for more. Claudias newest release, I, Claudia is a highly seductive work, ripe with compelling, propulsive grooves, dynamic sensitivity, catchy melodies and telepathic improvisation. Remarkably accessible, its music can perhaps be called postjazz. As the NY Times stated recently: "...if the music were a little bit dumber, it would resemble the music of the rock band Tortoise. No disrespect to Tortoise." In addition to Hollenbeck, the band features four other versatile and acclaimed players drawn from the huge pool of talent in New York: Drew Gress (double bass), Matt Moran (vibraphone), Ted Reichman (accordion) and Chris Speed (tenor sax and clarinet). I predict that many people who would never consider themselves as interested in a 'contemporary jazz' release will be floored by this album.