The Dirty Dollar–written by Adam Hopkins–from the debut album Carnivore–performed by Quartet Offensive, November 2008
Like the city this Baltimore quintet calls home, Quartet Offensive is a band bursting with musical innovation, experimentation and character, whose music exists between the cracks of jazz, rock and the avant-garde. It is a band whose unique style freely crosses genre boundaries, and one that succeeds in presenting an honest musical vision, due in large part to their firm roots in improvisational performance.
Originally a quartet of John Dierker (bass clarinet), Matt Frazao (guitar), Adam Hopkins (bass), and Nathan Ellman-Bell (drums), QO later added Eric Trudel (saxophone). Quartet Offensive has drawn both local and national attention, having been featured on NPR’s “The Signal,”as well as being hailed as “a lineup of musicians nothing short of virtuosic..first-class improvisation. A mix of time-tested Baltimore weirdness paired with wet-behind-the-ears energy.” (Baltimore City Paper). During their brief career together they’ve shared bills with living legends Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, Dave Ballou, Jack Wright, and Lafayette Gilchrist.
Their debut release Carnivore features compositions by three of the band’s five members and finds QO exploring a broad spectrum of styles. Be it the heavy rock-inspired pieces of bassist Adam Hopkins (The Dirty Dollar, The M.B.S., O.D.), the narrative soundscapes created by guitarist Matt Frazao (The Sheep Ate the Flower, Yo Banana Boy), the weighty, introspective works of saxophonist Eric Trudel (Heavy-Light), or the album’s two ballads (Jelly, Goodbye Cavendish) each piece showcases the powerful voices and cutting edge approach of QO’s individual members, while keeping the group’s fabric as its primary concern.