For more than 15 years, the H Project—Hank Hehmsoth, John Mills, James Fenner, Steve Summer, and Spencer Starnes—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the ensemble. In the process, H Project has become an influential group, performing concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings, and collaborating with composers and performers.
H Project's adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble's origins. In 1993, Hank Hehmsoth was inspired to form H Project after hearing Dave Grusin's LA/West Coast GRP record label output, notably Migrations, and began putting a book of originals, and highly unorthodox, compellingly diverse repertoire for H Project, performing and recording works by Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, contemporary composers (Russell Ferrante, Bill Dobbins), jazz legends (John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk), and artists from even farther afield (rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, movie composer Jery Goldsmith, multimedia performer Meredith Monk).
In addition to composers, H Project counts numerous artists among its collaborators, including acclaimed New York jazz and pop singer Alan Harris, Latin American percussionists Rene Gonzales and Sammy Lopez, world reknown jazz saxophonist and YellowJackets composer Bob Mintzer, latin jazz vocalist Madeline Elizondo, rocker turned classical guitarist Mark Cruz, and blues pop singer Thomas Hughes.
The ensemble spends each year appearing in concert halls, clubs, and festivals. Appearances at One World Theater, Riverbend Music Center, SXSW(South By Southwest Music Festival), master classes at UT Austin and Texas State Universities, clinics at the Hill Country Jazz Festival.
H Project's recording and performances reveal only a fraction of the group's commitment to new music. As a non-profit organization based in San Marcos/Austin, Texas, the newly formed tax-exempt status allows for commission of new works and arrangements for the group. Publication of sheet music and scores are available online.
The group is committed to mentoring emerging professional performers, and plans its first Professional Training Workshop with individual players at Texas State University this fall and spring. Subsequent workshops at Austin Music School and other venues have expanded this aspect of the group’s work. One of H Project's' most exciting initiatives is the Not Yet 30 Nights, a unique commissioning and performance program for performers and composers under 30 years old, launching in 2012. By cultivating creative relationships with such emerging talents and a wealth of other artists from around the world, H Project members reap the benefit of wisdom while maintaining a fresh approach to music-making inspired by a new generation of composers and performers.