The new Nashville-based chamber quartet Otto is singular for both its unique lineup of vibraphone, pedal steel, cello and woodwinds, and for its broad repertoire. This includes French impressionistic composers Faure, Satie and Milhaud, rock musicians David Byrne and Frank Zappa, and original pieces by Otto leader and arranger Jim Hoke.
Well-known music like Fauré’s “Pavane” take on freshness with the rare and atmospheric blend of steel guitar and vibes. Likewise, Zappa aficionados will hear a new world of nuance within the expressive textures of cello and clarinet on familiar works.
The players in Otto have a wide collective background. Steel guitarist Jim Hoke, better known as a studio multi-instrumentalist/arranger, has recorded for hundreds of mainstream artists and has led original jazz orchestras and the pop-exotica group Aqua Velvet. Vibraphonist-percussionist Kirby Shelstad has been involved in world music projects, played drums in heavy rock groups and composed major film scores. Robbie Shankle is Nashville’s premiere woodwind performer, playing flute, clarinet, oboe, english horn and saxophone with Nashville, Huntsville and Chattanooga symphonies. Cellist Austin Hoke has performed as a soloist with the Nashville Symphony as winner of the Curb concerto competition. He has played in string trios and pop groups and can be found busking on the streets in Nashville. Otto is working on its first CD, and was recently featured on WPLN’s “Live IN Studio C”. They have already begun building a following with a series of live concerts at Edgehill Studios