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StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Laurence Hobgood


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This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring pianist Laurence Hobgood, who's coming to St. Louis to perform with his trio on Wednesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 6 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Known widely for his more than 20 years as musical director for singer Kurt Elling, Hobgood split from Elling at the end of 2013 to concentrate on his own music. Since then, he's been involved in a variety of projects, playing solo, with his trio, and with larger ensembles, and sometimes even working with other vocalists, notably the British singer Barb Jungr, for whom he produced an album in 2016.

Hobgood's most recent trio recording was 2015's Honor Thy Fathers, which featured guest appearances from bassist John Patitucci and drummer Kendrick Scott. For his forthcoming album Tesseterra, set for release next month, he's using his regular accompanists, drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Matt Clohesy, augmented by the string quartet ETHEL to perform “iconic songs (by artists like Cole Porter; Sting; Hoagie Carmichael; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Joni Mitchell; Stevie Wonder, etc…) set in a cutting edge jazz-classical hybrid."

While it's certainly possible some adapted versions of those arrangements could turn up during Hobgood's St. Louis shows with only the trio, for the purpose of today's preview, you can see and hear him in several different musical settings that, together, should provide some more general insight into his musical personality.

In the first clip up above, Hobgood is seen performing a solo version of the Duke Ellington standard “Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me," recorded in October 2015 at the Arts Club in Ellington's home town of Washington DC.

After the jump, you can see Hobgood in an episode of Mad Toast Live!, a “community music showcase" based in Madison, Wisconsin. The program, recorded in 2012, features him performing solo and with singer Sally deBroux, bassist Laurie Lang, and percussionist John Becker.

Next are two more clips featuring Hobgood with female vocalists. He backs Barb Jungr in a version of the title track from the album they did together, Bob Dylan's “Shelter From The Storm," that was recorded in March 2016 at Pizza Express in London, and then accompanies Atla DeChamplain on another Ellington tune, “Love You Madly."

Those are followed by some footage of the pianist leading a sextet in a gig during the 2012 Winter Jazz Fest at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. The band includes Schonig on drums as well as saxophonists Joel Frahm and Todd Bashore, trumpeter Brandon Lee, and bassist Matthew Rybicki.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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