Exposé Online banner

Claudia Quintet + 1 — What Is the Beautiful?
(Cuneiform Rune 327, 2011, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01

What Is the Beautiful? Cover art

NYC-based Claudia Quintet have wasted no time following up on their critically acclaimed 2010 release, Royal Toast. This time out drummer John Hollenbeck and crew pay tribute to American poet, artist, and composer Kenneth Patchen with an ambitious and varied collection of compositions. The most striking innovation in the group's sound is revealed quickly on the opening track, "Showtime," with renowned jazz vocalist Kurt Elling reciting Patchen's beat poetry against bassist Drew Gress's melodic lines. Elling trades off on the microphone with vocalist Theo Bleckmann, for the most part delivering spoken word recitations though occasionally crooning the text, as seen on the delicate and wistful "The Snow Is Deep on the Ground." For the most part the arrangements are replete with thorny harmonic constructs that lack the instant appeal of much of Royal Toast. But for the listener who can stomach the sort of angularity and dissonance on display in tracks like "Mates for Life" or "Opening the Window," the rewards are plentiful. Guest pianist Matt Mitchell is a good fit for the material, whether he's providing accompaniment for the poetry of "Do Me That Love," or delving into abstract expressionism on "Limpidity of Silences." On the whole, the entire ensemble (which also includes vibraphonist Matt Moran, tenor player Chris Speed, and accordionist Ted Reichman) continues to display the intelligence and unity that have characterized previous releases. And although I'd characterize this record as "head jazz" the songs make an appeal to the soul that only the best art can.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 40, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): The Claudia Quintet

More info
http://www.johnhollenbeck.com

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roots of Consciousness - Roots of Consciousness – These guys inhabit that area of progressive rock that tends to make me cringe. Influences? Rush, Marillion, maybe even Be Bop Deluxe. This type ofmusic is more in an "art rock" vein - very vocal...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues