In the middle of A Blessing, John Hollenbeck and his crew (a complete contingent of woodwinds, brass, and “secret weapon” vocalist Theo Bleckmann) let loose and for four minutes enter into a mad sort of Dionysian rebellion. Like a two-year-old’s worst temper tantrum, the players scream, kick, and scratch before they seem to tire themselves out on their own noise and take some deep breaths. By the end of the track, they are coyly back in the sandbox playing quite nicely together. Ok, that’s what I hear anyway. What was Hollenbeck looking for? “I’m not making a special effort; I’m just being myself. I have always instinctively looked for my own personal vision. It is a blessing and a curse.”


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