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The Claudia Quintet: Super Petite

Drummer John Hellenbeck and his band The Claudia Quintet have enjoyed 19 years of success, with their blend of modern jazz and world music finding plenty of fans around the world who always wait with anticipation to see what new sounds they come up with next. Super Petite is the latest release for Cuneiform Records, featuring 10 inspiring tracks that show the band still able to craft memorable, engaging melodies delivered with stunning musical virtuosity.

The soothing, worldly sounds of "Nightbreak" kick things off, the entire band contributing to what is a tranquil yet majestic track long on melody and mood. "JFK Beagle" however is a quirky, complex little jazz piece led by Hellenbeck's intricate drum fills (man, is this guy a serious talent!) and Chris Speed's soaring sax, the band strutting their stuff in a big way. Drew Gess' leathery acoustic bass leads the way on the charming "A-List", with the main melody line delivered by accordion & vibraphone but the rhythms rumbling like a freight train underneath. The leader once again puts on a clinic alongside Gess on the classic jazz sounds of "Philly", a rousing post-bop number also highlighted by some soaring sax flights from Speed, and there's a cool element of 'funk-meets-world music-meets-latin jazz' on the upbeat barnburner "Rose Colored Rhythm", as Matt Moran's vibes swirl around intoxicating rhythms and sultry sax. "Pure Poem" approaches complex prog rock as well as fiery jazz fusion for it's brief length, and the expansive, dreamy, yet slightly ominous sounds of "mangold" closes out the album in tranquil fashion.

Super Petite not only does a great job delivering engaging melodies, but also showcasing some serious musical chops all at the same time. But then again, that's kind of what we've come to expect from The Claudia Quintet, who, over eight releases, have shown that they are one of the 'must hear' acts on the contemporary jazz scene.

The Claudia Quintet:
John Hollenbeck drums and percussion
Red Wierenga accordion
Matt Moran vibraphone
Drew Gress acoustic bass
Chris Speed clarinet and tenor sax

Track Listing
1. Nightbreak (6:00)
2. JFK Beagle (3:29)
3. A-List (5:19)
4. Philly (5:14)
5. Peterborough (4:13)
6. Rose Colored Rhythm (8:24)
7. If you seek a Fox (4:16)
8. Pure Poem (1:53)
9. Newark Beagle (3:20)
10. mangold (4:12)

Added: November 12th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 1397
Language: english

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