Best known for helming the Claudia Quintet and John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, as well as his sideman contributions to the work of numerous other artists, John Hollenbeck has shown himself to be an intuitive and far-reaching drummer, percussionist, composer, and group leader. Born in Binghamton, New York and a resident of New York City, Hollenbeck studied with trombonist/pianist/bandleader Bob Brookmeyer and was a member of Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra before becoming associated with the downtown Manhattan music scene.
The new millennium also saw Hollenbeck receiving wide recognition for his work with modern creative and experimental big bands, including his own John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, which released A Blessing on Omnitone in 2005 and Eternal Interlude on Sunnyside in 2009, both of which received Grammy nominations for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. He also worked with a pair of European outfits: Jazz Bigband Graz, with which he recorded Joys & Desires, released by Intuition in 2005; and the Frankfurt Radio Bigband, which commissioned his Songs I Like a Lot project, heard on the 2013 Sunnyside album of the same name, followed by 2015's Songs We Like a Lot (also on Sunnyside), which arrived in 2015. Hollenbeck's Grammy recognition also includes a 2010 nomination (Best Instrumental Composition) for "Falling Men," which appeared on that year's Bee Jazz label release Shut Up and Dance, an album of his compositions recorded by France's Orchestre National de Jazz under the artistic direction of Daniel Yvinec, and a 2013 nomination (Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist[s]) for "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress" from Songs I Like a Lot. ~ Alex Henderson & Dave Lynch