The Claudia Quintet: Pockets Deeper than a Fryer


In Bucknell Hall, the set up was pretty standard as I had traversed this hall thrice before. The knowledge buzzing in the air about The Claudia Quintet, or "These Cats" (as overheard by someone else the crowd), could really play. I noticed many of my Jazz Professors and instructors in the crowd, so I knew this was nothing to sneeze at. “These Cats” were about to blow everyone out of the water.

When they started to play, the quintet was timid but powerful at the same time. John Hollenbeck, the reserved frontman and drummer, made everyone aware that they were going to bring the noise. At a quick but experimentally strenuous pace, the Quintet created a sound that was so relaxed, and all anyone could do was kick way back and feel the vibe. It was even possible to hear influences from the R&B end of the spectrum of a Drake album.

As if on a whim, Hollenbeck decided to ramble on about his musical career and personal life, which lasted the length of the first tune that was played. This opened up a key aspect of The Claudia Quintet: this mysterious, yet extremely confusing endeavor augmented the musical themes and repetitions of their intricate musical creations. The long vamping, extended over the intricate step-like melodies, enshrine the arduous zeal of the Claudia Quintet as a musical force. The drummer had pockets deeper than folk-acoustic group Lake Huron, illuminating a cerebral glow throughout the venue.

I came in hoping to hear some great guitar and piano solos, and left questioning the definition of the phrase "Free Jazz." This performance was completely unchained, even when it was constrained by the intense structure of each piece. Close relatives style-wise are the workings of the experimental group Radiohead. According to Rolling Stone, Radiohead's "Kid A" was the best album of the decade. Additionally, according to Campus Vinyl BucknellU, The Claudia Quintet just dropped another album entitled "September", so you can't miss it. Maybe Hollenbeck's rambling speeches will be included in the tracks, or maybe they won't.

Click to see the band's website!

Click for a live performance!

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