Hollenbeck shows off arrangements on ‘Songs I Like’ |

Hollenbeck shows off arrangements on ‘Songs I Like’


‘Songs I Like a Lot’

John Hollenbeck/Frankfurt Radio Big Band (Sunnyside)

In the opening moments of “Songs I Like a Lot,” arranger John Hollenbeck establishes the album as another display of his great work with a large ensemble. Like past recordings, he creates such different voicings for a traditional-size big band, the ensemble sounds more like a classical wind ensemble. On this album, he crafts a suite of movements built around songs sung by the wonderful Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann. For instance, he puts together a 14-minute look at Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress,” which makes it more a symphonic adagio than simply a ballad. He takes the traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow” and examines it in a similar 11-minute look. The songs Hollenbeck likes include the quirky “Bicycle Race” by Queen’s Freddie Mercury and “Canvas” by Imogen Heap. Besides arranging and conducting, Hollenbeck adds percussion work on the album, a reference to his simpler days as a drummer. The album is enriched by the usual good play of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

— Bob Karlovits

‘The Jazz Expression’

Christopher Alpiar (Behip)

Some sounds are so classic, they can be stated, copied and redone with little damage. On “The Jazz Expression,” tenor saxophonist Christopher Alpiar leads a quartet that tries to be the classic foursome John Coltrane led in the days of “A Love Supreme.” Of course, he cannot do so. Who could? But Alpiar’s forceful, aggressive style is so entertaining, it is fun to hear. The album, which is just under an hour long, consists of five originals topped by the 19-minute “Trane’s Pain,” which is full of “Ascension”-era statements. The album stirs some curious thoughts. It was recorded in 1995, but not released until this year, suggesting the saxophonist has had nothing new to say in 17 years. He gets high marks for technique, but the originality is lacking. Why not skip this one and listen to The Man himself.

— Bob Karlovits

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.