Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts | Chris Weller | Cole DeGenova | Devin Drobka

Chris Weller – tenor saxophone | Cole DeGenova – keyboards | Devin Drobka – drums & cymbals

Recorded, engineered and mixed by Sean Behling December ’13/Jan ’14. Produced by Chris Weller. All compositions by Chris Weller except “The Single Petal of a Rose” by Duke Ellington. Album art/design by Jamie Breiwick (@ BSide Graphics)

Tracklist: 1. D Rover [8:14] 2. The Single Petal Of a Rose [4:41] 3. Doo-Woop [8:53] 4. Early Bird [6:51] 5. Lucid Dream [5:17] 6. Confucius Says [4:34]

Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts

formed 2013, is a dynamic musical trio dedicated to the fearless exploration of group improvisation. Their music, organic and raw, bridges the gap between jazz, rock, and experimental music. The band features it’s leader Chris Weller on tenor saxophone and compositions, Cole DeGenova on keyboards, and Devin Drobka on drums. While Chris and Cole grew up in Chicago, playing professionally in jazz and blues clubs by the age of 15, the trio was completed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where all three members graduated. While the trio’s repertoire consists mostly of Weller’s original compositions, they are also known to deconstruct popular songs and freely improvise.

Members of the group have performed around the world and have shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Osby, Tony Malaby, Mike Moreno, Tower of Power, Lettuce, Kurt Elling, Snarky Puppy, Kenny Barron, and Big Boi (Outkast), among many others. Notable performances include the Chicago Jazz Festival, Velvet Lounge, Jazz Showcase, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Though they have been playing together for years, the group will release their debut album in October ’14, with supporting US shows and European tour.


Chris Weller

Dreamland-Chris1Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, Chris discovered his passion for music in the 8th grade after hearing Charlie Parker, and has pursued music ever since. He went on to attend Berklee College of Music on scholarship from 2007-2010 where he received his bachelors degree in Music Performance. While Chris was at Berklee he was fortunate to learn from George Garzone, Dave Santoro, drum master Rakalam Bob Moses, Ed Tomassi, Jim Odgren, Shannon LeClaire, Greg Hopkins, Benny Golson, Mark Turner, and many other fantastic musicians/teachers. He also performed extensively during that time in Jazz, Latin, and Hip Hop idioms all across the nation. After college, Chris moved back to Oak Park where he currently resides, teaches privately, and performs.

Cole DeGenova

MG_8124Musician, poet, and songwriter Cole DeGenova has spent most of his life crafting his eclectic artistic voice. Born in Chicago and growing up in a family of musicians and artists, DeGenova began playing piano at age four and spent his childhood studying classical piano, the jazz and blues of his hometown, and the pop music of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and D’Angelo. By age 15 he was playing professionally in jazz and blues clubs on Chicago’s South Side. His prodigious talents led him to study at Berklee College of Music in 2005 where he trained further with jazz piano great Danilo Perez.

After forming his funky alternative soul group Cole DeGenova & The Peoples Republic with fellow Berklee students, they released their first album JUST PEOPLE AGAIN in 2009. Three years later, and after thousands of miles of road covered, his second album, ANOTHER COUNTRY, was released summer 2012; an inspired culmination of lessons learned on the road, soulful melodies, and the infectious grooves of his band. A troubadour in the truest sense, Cole DeGenova has toured all of over the US, Europe, and South America. He has performed alongside or opened for the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Tower of Power, George Clinton, Lettuce, Saul Williams, Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, Maurice Brown, Snarky Puppy, James Carter, Meshell N’degeocello, Paula Cole, J Davey, and rapper the GZA. Cole is also a co-founder and organizer for the Chicago-based artist collective The Gala.

Devin Drobka

MG_7943My name is Devin Drobka and I am a milwaukee native that has been playing drums for the past 20 years. I received my BMA in Jazz Drumming Performance from Berklee College of Music in 09′ where I had the chance to study with Terri Lynn Carrington, Bob Tamigni, Skip Hadden, Jamey Haddad, Kenwood Dennard, Jon Hazilla, Ralph Peterson Jr, Ian Froman, and the master drummer Bob Moses. While at Berklee I performed with legends of the Jazz world such as Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Osby, Cecil McBee, Dave Santoro, Ed Tomassi, Geraldine Bergonzi and Phil Grenadier. While in my year at Berklee I was asked to be apart of the world famous Jerry Bergonzi Quartet which featured Bruce Barth on Piano and Dave Santoro on Bass. I had the privilege of playing in this band for 3 years where we played 4 sold out nights at the Kitano Jazz club in Manhattan.

I have been living in Brooklyn, NY the past 2 years where I continued to hone my skills. While in New York Ive had the chance of playing at Kitano’s, Douglass St. Music Collective, Sycamore, Setai, Way Station, Branded Saloon and many more. Ive also completed 15 diy tours which have taken me all over the US and into Canada. I have lead my own group and continue to be busy composing new music for this ensemble which is a rotating cast of improvisers. I have had the pleasure of playing the Tanglewood Jazz Fest, Eastside Jazz Fest, and Salem Jazz Fest. Currently studying with the great Nasheet Waits ( I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Bruce Barth, Jerry Bergonzi, Tony Malaby, Joe Solomon, Dave Santoro, Mario Pavone, Matt WIlson, Tadataka Unno, Dan Tepfer, Joe Martin, Tom Chang, Michael Attias, Quison Nachoff, Frank LoCrasto, Chris Tordini, Mike Moreno, Lena Bloch, Kyle Wilson, Ben Wendall, Jorge Roeder, Dan Blake, Tyler Blanton, Dmitry Ishenko, Sean Conly.

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One thought on “Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts | Chris Weller | Cole DeGenova | Devin Drobka

  1. Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts released their debut album of the same name on Friday October 24th at Constellation, Chicago. The jazz trio and Berklee College of Music graduates include members, Cole DeGenova on keyboards, Devin Drobka on drums/percussion, and of course Chris Weller, tenor saxophonist and primary composer from Oak Park, IL.

    In terms of genre, “Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts” treads in the waters of experimentation offering glimpses of free jazz, improvisation, post bop with rock inspired power. This vibrant album may be complex, but not so much as to make serious listeners lose their focus.

    While the instrumentation may lack a bassist, there is no missing soul or groove after witnessing the technical prowess of each musician.

    The first track “D Rover” comes out of the gates fast with complex drum work, with the saxophone taking the lead and crunchy keyboard timbre. “The Single Petal Of A Rose” follows with a calm melancholy that won’t be heard again for the rest of the short 6 track album.

    Ambitious tracks like “Doo-Wop” and “Confucius Say”, which assert moments of premeditated dissonance, may cause casual listeners to get lost in the mix. However, those same listeners will find comfort in the blissful melody of “Lucid Dream”.

    Despite the fact that “Hanging Hearts” may be brief in length, the listener will experience a fulfilling sense of exploration that gives this album excellent replay value and a change of pace that will be welcomed by any jazz aficionado.

    “Chris Weller’s Hanging Hearts” will inspire and challenge serious jazz listeners as this progressive trio treks into experimental territory with passion and confidence.

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