Acclaimed composer/arranger Mike Holober creates an epic masterwork melding jazz, classical and art song for his Grammy-nominated Gotham Jazz Orchestra

Due out June 14, 2024 via Palmetto Records, "This Rock We're On: Imaginary Letters" draws inspiration from the natural world and the insights of environmental authors, artists, and activists such as Ansel Adams, Rachel Carson, Sigurd Olson, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Robin Wall Kimmerer

Featuring Holober's GRAMMY-nominated Gotham Jazz Orchestra, soloists include Jason Rigby (tenor saxophone), Ben Kono (alto saxophone), Charles Pillow (alto saxophone), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Jared Schonig (drums), Nir Felder (guitar), Jody Redhage Ferber (cello) and James Shipp (percussion). The ensemble is joined for the occasion by tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist John Patitucci, and the up-and-coming Brazilian vocalist Jamile Staevie Ayres

RELEASE DATE:  June 14, 2024 Palmetto Records

Disc 1

  1. Lay of the Land 
    Chris Potter – tenor sax
  2. On This Rock (imaginary letter from Wendell Berry)
    Mark Patterson - trombone
  3. Dirt Lover’s Almanac (for Wendell Berry)
    John Patitucci – bass; Charles Pillow – alto sax
  4. Another Summer (imaginary letter from Rachel Carson to Dorothy Freeman)
  5. Tides (For Rachel Carson)
    Jody Redhage Ferber – cello; Jason Rigby – tenor sax
  6. Another Summer Epilogue (imaginary letter from Dorothy Freeman to Rachel Carson)
  7. To Virginia (Poem by Ansel Adams to Virginia Best Adams)
  8. Dear Virginia (for Ansel Adams)
    Virginia Mayhew - tenor sax; Marvin Stamm - trumpet; Mike Holober - piano
  9. Domes (for Ansel Adams)
    Ben Kono – alto sax; Scott Wendholt - trumpet

Disc 2

  1. Refuge (imaginary letter from Castleton Tower to Terry Tempest Williams)
  2. Tower Pulse (for Castleton Tower)
    Chris Potter – tenor sax; Nir Felder - guitar
  3. Erosion (for Terry Tempest Williams)
    Nir Felder – guitar
  4. Three Words for Snow (imaginary letter from Sigurd Olson)
  5. Boundary Waters (for Sigurd Olson)
    Mike Holober – piano; Jason Rigby --tenor sax
  6. Noetry (imaginary letter from a tree to Robin Wall Kimmerer)
  7. Skywoman Falling (for Robin Wall Kimmerer)
    Jody Redhage Ferber – cello; Charles Pillow – bass flute; Marvin Stamm - flugelhorn
  8. This Rock We’re On (imaginary letter from a child)
    Carl Maraghi – baritone sax; Nir Felder guitar; Jason Rigby – tenor sax

Mike Holober - composer, lyricist, piano, Fender Rhodes
Jamile Staevie Ayres - voice
Jody Redhage Ferber – cello
Ronan Rigby – child voice on This Rock We’re On

Charles Pillow - alto, soprano, flute, alto flute, bass flute, clarinet
Ben Kono - alto, soprano, flute, alto flute, clarinet (flute on Three Words for Snow)
Jason Rigby - tenor, soprano, flute, clarinet
Adam Kolker - tenor, soprano, flute, clarinet
Chris Potter - tenor, clarinet (Lay of the Land, Tower Pulse)
Virginia Mayhew - tenor (Dear Virginia, Dirt Lover’s Almanac)
Carl Maraghi - baritone, bass clarinet

Tony Kadleck
Liesl Whitaker
Marvin Stamm
Scott Wendholt
Stuart Mack (Skywoman Falling, Tower Pulse)

Matt McDonald
Mark Patterson
Alan Ferber (Erosion, Domes, Boundary Waters)
Jason Jackson (Tides, Dirt Lover’s Almanac, Skywoman Falling)
Sara Jacovino (Lay of the Land, Tower Pulse, This Rock We’re On)
Jeff Nelson - bass trombone

Rhythm Section
Nir Felder - guitar
John Patitucci - bass, electric bass
Jared Schonig - drums
James Shipp - vibraphone, percussion, synth, voice

Recorded at Oktaven Studios, Mt Vernon, NY June 12-15, 19, 2023:

June 12-14 (Jazz Orchestra + “On This Rock” & “Dear Virginia”)
Recording Engineer: James Farber
Assistant Recording Engineers: Edwin Huet; Charles Mueller
Session Producer: Jim McNeely
Assistant Session Producer: Migiwa Miyajima
Session Assistant: Joseph Herbst

June 15 & 19 (Chamber Music)
Recording Engineer: Ryan Streber
Assistant Recording Engineers: Edwin Huet; Charles Mueller
Session Producer: Migiwa Miyajima

Mixed by Brian Montgomery
June 12-14 edited by Brian Montgomery
June 15, 19 edited by Ryan Streber
Mastering:  Mark Wilder, Battery Studios
Produced by Mike Holober and Kabir Sehgal
Liner Notes (“non-imaginary” letter): Terry Tempest Williams
Photos: Luke Marantz
Publicist: Ann Braithwaite
Social Media:  Fully Altered Media

“This Rock We’re On:  Imaginary Letters” was launched with support from a Stuart Z. Katz Professorship in the Humanities and Arts at the City College of New York.  A PSC-CUNY Research Foundation grant provided additional funding, and it was written during residencies at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Ucross Foundation for the Arts, and MacDowell.   I am indebted to Sebastian Currier, Dave Eggar, Jim McNeely, and James Shipp for their guidance, and to Terry Tempest Williams for her deeply moving “non-imaginary” letter.  Special thanks to The Ansel Adams Trust for permission to use “To Virginia” as lyrics, and eternal gratitude to my mentors Chuck Schneider and Albert Hamme,  and to my rock, the island I washed up upon, Melissa Hall.