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Super Petite

by The Claudia Quintet

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Nightbreak 06:00
JFK Beagle 03:28
A-list 05:18
Philly 05:13
Pure Poem 01:52
mangold 05:20


Contrary to the current popular trend of making works of literature or recordings longer and larger, I have focused most recently on writing shorter compositions. Super Petite is an apt and amusing term used by one of the Claudia guys to describe a friend of ours and I thought it was the perfect way to describe this collection of shortish works – well, shortish for me anyway! Many of these compositions came from studies or ideas that I wanted to practice or explore - and through further exploration they organically evolved into musical portraits or musical shorts.

Nightbreak is based on Charlie Parker’s infamous break in Night in Tunisia. When I slowed it down I discovered a hypnotic quality that gave me a mood to work with.

JFK Beagle, and its sister piece Newark Beagle, I wrote in honor of those cute beagles at international baggage claim who enthusiastically sniff the luggage for contraband food.

A-List is the theme song for an imaginary video featuring The Claudia Quintet strutting down the red carpet. Think “Entourage” meets the “Geek Squad”.

Philly is written for the inventive drummer Philly Joe Jones and is based on one of his infamous licks that I open the tune with.

Peterborough owes its inspiration to the MacDowell Colony and the quaint town in which it’s nestled.

Rose Rhythm is by the master musician Doudou N’Diaye Rose, who left this realm a few weeks before we recorded the album. At first I was using Rose Rhythm as something fun to play along with before realizing it might make a great arrangement for CQ.

If you seek a Fox is both a short caricature of a stealthy fox and a thinly disguised dig at my least favorite TV news network.

Pure Poem is based on Pure Poem 1007-1103 by Shigeru Matsui.

I think I have eaten at mangolds, a great vegetarian restaurant in Graz, Austria, more often than any other restaurant - even sometimes twice in one day! I am assuming the restaurant is named after one of their favorite vegetables, mangold, or more familiarly in English, Swiss chard.

Claudia loves you,


“You’d never mistake Claudia for anyone else.”
– DownBeat

“Sensing the tipping point where improvisation undermines a composer's intentions, or composition imprisons good improvisers, is the challenge for musicians who like giving equal weight to both – and the Claudia Quintet are frontrunners at this tricky game.”
– The Guardian

“...imparts another testament to their enduring resilience and idiosyncratic representation of the jazz vernacular. (Passionately recommended....)”
– All About Jazz

“Unclassifiable by any standard...The Claudia Quintet has explored the permeable boundaries between genres with single-minded dedication.” – Point Of Departure

Short doesn’t necessarily mean simple. Drummer-composer John Hollenbeck acrobatically explores the dichotomy between brevity and complexity on Super Petite, the eighth release by the critically-acclaimed, proudly eccentric Claudia Quintet. The oxymoronic title of the new album, captures the essence of its ten new compositions, which pack all of the wit and virtuosity that listeners have come to expect from the Claudia Quintet into a shorter time-frame.

Hollenbeck’s uncategorizable music – which bridges the worlds of modern jazz and new music in surprising and inventive ways - is realized by Claudia’s longstanding line-up. Over the course of 19 years and 8 albums, the band has forged an astounding chemistry and become expert at juggling mind-boggling dexterity with inviting emotion and spirit.

The concept of shorter works was both a personal challenge for Hollenbeck as a composer always dealing with a wealth of ideas, but also a reaction to a tendency in modern music toward the epic. “I’m feeling things in the opposite direction,” the composer explains. “When tunes are longer, there tend to be moments when not a whole lot is happening. If you have a really short tune, the whole thing has to be compelling.”


released September 3, 2021

this album was originally released on Cuneiform Records on June 24, 2016

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

Recorded at Brooklyn Recording in 2015
on the birthday of Chuck D and Nana Vasconcelos.
Recorded and mixed by Andy Taub.
Assistant Engineer: Don Piper.
Music produced by John Hollenbeck.
Mastered by Brent Lambert at The Kitchen Mastering.

Design by karlssonwilker inc.

This work was made possible by the generous support of the Doris Duke Performing Artists Awards Program.


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John Hollenbeck Montreal, Québec

Award-winning composer/
John Hollenbeck's entire 20-year catalogue is being re-released digitally here through Flexatonic Records, a U.S. non-profit entity that was formed for his activities.

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