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Laurence Hobgood: When The Heart Dances (2009)

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Laurence Hobgood: When The Heart Dances How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
b.1967
vocalist
's long-time pianist, Laurence Hobgood, is no stranger to leading a recording session. He has released four previous recordings on Naim Jazz in the last 10 years. He is a durable pianist, a bit of a cross between Red Garland
Red Garland
Red Garland
1923 - 1984
piano
and George Winston, with a smidge of Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
thrown in for seasoning. On When the Heart Dances, Hobgood duets with bassist Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
1937 - 2014
bass, acoustic
and is joined by Elling on three of the eleven selections.

The jazz duet is enjoying a renaissance. Recent duet recordings include Eddie Daniels

Eddie Daniels
Eddie Daniels
b.1941
clarinet
and Roger Kellaway
Roger Kellaway
Roger Kellaway
b.1939
piano
's A Duet of One (IPO Recordings, 2009) and Bill Anschell and Brent Jensen
Brent Jensen
Brent Jensen
b.1960
sax, soprano
's We Couldn't Agree More (Origin Records, 2009). The format provides the most intimate of environments in which to play. The pairing of Hobgood and Haden is an inspired one. The two have a synergy that is oak-organic and diamond hard.

The Doris Day ditty "Que Sera Sera" gets Hobgood's attention and is turned into a deep improvisation where the melody is almost nowhere to be found, like Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's famous "Embraceable You." Haden's bass is unadorned, notes chosen and played impeccably. Each note Haden plays carries the DNA of jazz from Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
's Free Jazz (Atlantic, 1961) to Quartet West. Haden is beyond flash; he is about distillation of tone and ideas.

Hobgood shows his entire hand on the solo original "Sanctuary." Here, instead of improvising from a standard or jazz composition, Hobgood creates an American palette that is a cross between piano gospel and New Age. Elements of these are present in all pieces but are fully realized here. The Elling recitals—"First Song," "Stairway to the Stars" and "Daydream"—receive a subdued treatment from Elling, who sings them straight with his deep, resonant voice. There is little fault with this quirky, beautiful recording that is delightfully off the beaten path.

Track Listing: Que Sera Sera; When The Heart Dances; First Song; Sanctuary; Chickoree; Stairway To The Stars; New Orleans; Why Did I Choose You; Leatherwood; Daydream; The Cost of Living.

Personnel: Laurence Hobgood: piano; Charlie Haden: double-bass; Kurt Elling: vocals.

Record Label: Naim Label

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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