by Russell Perry
Since the Charles Mingus--Langston Hughes collaborations in the 1950s, there has always been a durable synergy between Jazz and Poetry. Recently, Poet Laureates Robert Pinsky and Philip Levine have recorded with pianist Laurence Hobgood and alto-saxophonist Benjamin Boone. Bassist Steve Swallow and poet Robert Creeley collaborated on several projects as have tenor player David Murray and Amiri Baraka. In 2017, two projects used the poetry of American masters as the inspiration for jazz suites. Drummer Matt Wilson recorded a project ...read more
by Roger Farbey
"Jazz with strings" is a phrase that sometimes invokes a heart-sink feeling amongst reviewers. Happily this is not one of those occasions. Laurence Hobgood has released a half dozen records under his own name but many more for vocalist Kurt Elling with whom he's been musical director, co-producer and accompanist for over twenty years. During that time Elling was a nominee for his three Blue Note releases and both Hobgood and Elling were named 1995 Chicagoans of the year in ...read more
by Joel Roberts
Laurence Hobgood is one of those artists whose undeniable talents beg the question, Why isn't he better known?" In Hobgood's case, part of the reason may be that he's spent most of the past decade and a half in a supportive role, as pianist and musical director for singer Kurt Elling--a pretty good gig, but one that may have prevented him from garnering more attention. At any rate, it's no exaggeration to call the 49-year-old Chicago-based musician one of the ...read more
by Warren Allen
The old adage of less is more" shows up more than it should, but every now and then proves itself remarkably apt in the world of music. When The Heart Dances features pianist Laurence Hobgood scaling back the typical rhythm trio to just himself and bass maestro Charlie Haden. And while it's hardly the first time the setup has been tried, it works to great effect with these two.
The result is mellow but nuanced music. An opener like Que ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
Kurt Elling'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 and George Winston, with a smidge of Bill Evans thrown in for seasoning. On When the Heart Dances, Hobgood duets with bassist Charlie Haden and is joined by Elling on three of the eleven selections.
The jazz duet is ...read more
by R.J. DeLuke
Laurence Hobgood is one of the finest pianists out there. Period. Why he's not better known is probably a combination of factors in the unstable and schizophrenic world of show business.But his time is coming.He may be relatively unheralded, but it's only a question of time before more people realize his artistry. He's got endless chops, good taste and intelligence. He's also got a creative spirit and isn't afraid to take on the difficult project or ...read more