Towson University's jazz department keeps upgrading. After hiring the likes of trumpeter Dave Ballou and saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk, it brought in bassist Drew Gress for a residency last year, and, now, composer and drummer John Hollenbeck begins a week-long residency with a performance tonight. Hollenbeck, whose big band recently earned raves from The New York Times, brings his Claudia Quintet (which includes Gress) to Towson. That band's 2007 CD, For, is a stunner. Instrumentation = bass, drums, vibraphone, accordion, clarinet/tenor sax! Like a pensive Philip Glass hanging out at Henry Threadgill's house, Hollenbeck exhibits a restless and infectious creativity that adapts well to various settings. His Towson shows—there's another one Friday night, with a big band of students playing Hollenbeck originals—should highlight those skills. Tonight's performance starts at 8:15 pm.
[photo: Ssirus Pakzad]