Wednesday, September 16, 2009

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble - Eternal Interlude (Sunnyside, 2009)

Hollenbeck is one of the most interesting performers and percussionists on the modern jazz scene, playing with his own large and small ensembles and the wonderfully quirky collective The Claudia Quintet. On this album, he is joined by a large jazz orchestra and uses them to combine jazz with modern classical music and demonstrate a wide range of inspirations and ideas. The music here is quite ambitious and forward looking, kicking off with "Foreign One" which builds nicely to one of the jazzier interludes of the album especially with an excellent saxophone solo and propulsive drumming. Things get really deep on the lengthy and cinematic "Eternal Interlude" which builds slowly over the course of nearly twenty minutes. Hopefully some inspired director or producer will hire Hollenbeck to do some film scores, the music here seems built for it with variations of light and shadow throughout. Theo Bleckman's interesting vocalese and some spoken word recitation add different dynamics to some of the other compositions of the album. The music explored a lot of different colors and timbres, bit I had a little bit of trouble with the music here because it was really outside of the jazz and blues that I normally listen to. But if you are interested in third stream jazz or the intersection of jazz and modern classical music than this will definitely be of interest to you.
Eternal Interlude -

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