8 Songs, 1 Hour 9 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The consistently inventive composer and drummer John Hollenbeck has written music for large ensembles, all-percussion groups, spoken-word settings: you name it. On Songs I Like a Lot, he uses his considerable arranging skills to reimagine a set of pop tunes. The project was commissioned and performed by The Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann are featured, and Gary Versace plays piano and organ. In the intro, warm-toned brass and woodwinds mix with Martin Scales’ guitar before McGarry and Bleckmann take turns on the verses. Later, Scales plays an absolutely gorgeous solo, and things wrap up with a minimalist-style outro. The traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow” starts with freewheeling drums and a heavy horn chart. Thomas Heidepriem’s bass and Scales’ acoustic guitar drive hard as Bleckmann’s folk-flavored tones and McGarry’s jazzier notes nicely contrast. Hollenbeck keeps listeners on their toes with a surprise: a cover of Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” And there’s a surprise inside the surprise: Hollenbeck uses a bicycle as a percussion instrument.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The consistently inventive composer and drummer John Hollenbeck has written music for large ensembles, all-percussion groups, spoken-word settings: you name it. On Songs I Like a Lot, he uses his considerable arranging skills to reimagine a set of pop tunes. The project was commissioned and performed by The Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann are featured, and Gary Versace plays piano and organ. In the intro, warm-toned brass and woodwinds mix with Martin Scales’ guitar before McGarry and Bleckmann take turns on the verses. Later, Scales plays an absolutely gorgeous solo, and things wrap up with a minimalist-style outro. The traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow” starts with freewheeling drums and a heavy horn chart. Thomas Heidepriem’s bass and Scales’ acoustic guitar drive hard as Bleckmann’s folk-flavored tones and McGarry’s jazzier notes nicely contrast. Hollenbeck keeps listeners on their toes with a surprise: a cover of Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” And there’s a surprise inside the surprise: Hollenbeck uses a bicycle as a percussion instrument.

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