10 Best Jazz CDs 2016 - Chicago Tribune

Laurence Hobgood Trio: "Honor Thy Fathers" (Circumstantial):

Pianist Hobgood pays homage to his "musical fathers" — including Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Nat King Cole — and in so doing achieves some of the finest playing of an already distinguished career. The sheer beauty of Hobgood's tone and touch are worth savoring, and there's no missing the poetry of his "Sanctuary" (a salute to his father), the joyousness of his approach to rhythm in "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (a tribute to Cole) and the impressionistic canvas of his "The Waltz" (suggesting Evans). Joined by bassist John Patitucci and drummer Kendrick Scott, Hobgood never has sounded better.

New York Times: Barb Jungr & Laurence Hobgood Trio

By STEPHEN HOLDEN          MAY 16, 2016 When the British singer Barb Jungr was growing up in Manchester, she recalled on Saturday evening, the images on an album cover of “South Pacific” gave her the illusion that a tropical island was a safe, paradisiacal refuge. At Joe’s Pub, where she is performing songs from her new album, “Shelter From the Storm: Songs of Hope for Troubled Times,” Ms. Jungr, in a green silk shirt, shell necklace and black slacks, appeared as Bloody Mary and sang “Bali Hai” with a trio that included the piano virtuoso Laurence Hobgood, Wilson Torres on percussion and Matt Clohesy on bass. These brilliant musicians lifted the performance out of the realm of cabaret and into jazz.   Ms. Jungr is not afraid to be goofy, and her playfulness during a program whose songs addressed the generalized anxiety about the future injected a dash of humor into a troubling question: Where do we go when global catastrophe strikes? Ms. Jungr countered that sense of dread with an attitude that could only be described as jolly. She never stopped moving, and wore a beatific smile.   The album title refers to the Bob Dylan song from “Blood on the Tracks.” Ms. Jungr, a passionate Dylanologist, can squeeze more juice out of a Dylan song than just about anybody. But her approach is less archaeological than intuitive. Analyzing the song, she suggested that each verse is a miniature Shakespearean play, and that’s how she performed it.   A strong, mambo-driven rendition of “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” introduced the show’s theme of ominous anticipation, but in a cheerful voice. Mr. Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” pursued the possibilities of warning and escape. And Bruce Springsteen’s “Long Walk Home” described the desolation of a small town where the narrator grew up.   When she sang Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” the self-adoring proclamation “We are stardust, we are golden” sounded naïve. The words “bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky” and “caught in the devil’s bargain” stood out. Yes, something momentous is indeed coming.

By STEPHEN HOLDEN          MAY 16, 2016

When the British singer Barb Jungr was growing up in Manchester, she recalled on Saturday evening, the images on an album cover of “South Pacific” gave her the illusion that a tropical island was a safe, paradisiacal refuge. At Joe’s Pub, where she is performing songs from her new album, “Shelter From the Storm: Songs of Hope for Troubled Times,” Ms. Jungr, in a green silk shirt, shell necklace and black slacks, appeared as Bloody Mary and sang “Bali Hai” with a trio that included the piano virtuoso Laurence Hobgood, Wilson Torres on percussion and Matt Clohesy on bass. These brilliant musicians lifted the performance out of the realm of cabaret and into jazz.

 

Ms. Jungr is not afraid to be goofy, and her playfulness during a program whose songs addressed the generalized anxiety about the future injected a dash of humor into a troubling question: Where do we go when global catastrophe strikes? Ms. Jungr countered that sense of dread with an attitude that could only be described as jolly. She never stopped moving, and wore a beatific smile.

 

The album title refers to the Bob Dylan song from “Blood on the Tracks.” Ms. Jungr, a passionate Dylanologist, can squeeze more juice out of a Dylan song than just about anybody. But her approach is less archaeological than intuitive. Analyzing the song, she suggested that each verse is a miniature Shakespearean play, and that’s how she performed it.

 

A strong, mambo-driven rendition of “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” introduced the show’s theme of ominous anticipation, but in a cheerful voice. Mr. Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” pursued the possibilities of warning and escape. And Bruce Springsteen’s “Long Walk Home” described the desolation of a small town where the narrator grew up.

 

When she sang Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” the self-adoring proclamation “We are stardust, we are golden” sounded naïve. The words “bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky” and “caught in the devil’s bargain” stood out. Yes, something momentous is indeed coming.

JazzTimes

03/16/16 Laurence Hobgood Trio Honor Thy Fathers Circumstantial By Michael J. West   It’s easy to hear similarities between Laurence Hobgood’s piano and that of Brad Mehldau, who shares primary influences (Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans). But Hobgood, known for his years as Kurt Elling’s musical director, differentiates himself via another cluster of inspirations: Oscar Peterson, Nat “King” Cole and his own father, theater director Burnet Mclean. These and other mentors are the focus of his radiant trio record Honor Thy Fathers.   Armed with a top-flight rhythm section—drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist John Patitucci—Hobgood both salutes the aforementioned influences and pulls the music in unexpected directions. “Sanctuary,” an original dedicated to his father, and Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right” pack in serious gospel feeling; the sanctified church even peeks through his Evans pastiche, “The Waltz.” “Give Me the Simple Life,” intended as a nod to Peterson, acknowledges him only with a few runs in the middle of Hobgood’s solo; the remainder is about unorthodox structure and carefully built suspense.   There are definite through lines on Honor Thy Fathers, however. Hobgood likes to work in odd meters without being ostentatious about it; “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” for example, has a bouncing march groove that doesn’t sound like the 7/4 it is, and “The Road Home,” Hobgood’s tribute to Charlie Haden, is so downhome that its rhythm in 5 seems perfectly natural. The other recurring element is lyricism, credit for which goes to Patitucci as well. His lines are not only lyrical but have the dynamics and flexible tone of a human voice, as in both his lead and fecund solo on “Shirakumo No Michi.” The album is a sublime statement—perhaps the first of 2016.   Originally published in March 2016

03/16/16

Laurence Hobgood Trio
Honor Thy Fathers
Circumstantial
By Michael J. West

 

It’s easy to hear similarities between Laurence Hobgood’s piano and that of Brad Mehldau, who shares primary influences (Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans). But Hobgood, known for his years as Kurt Elling’s musical director, differentiates himself via another cluster of inspirations: Oscar Peterson, Nat “King” Cole and his own father, theater director Burnet Mclean. These and other mentors are the focus of his radiant trio record Honor Thy Fathers.

 

Armed with a top-flight rhythm section—drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist John Patitucci—Hobgood both salutes the aforementioned influences and pulls the music in unexpected directions. “Sanctuary,” an original dedicated to his father, and Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right” pack in serious gospel feeling; the sanctified church even peeks through his Evans pastiche, “The Waltz.” “Give Me the Simple Life,” intended as a nod to Peterson, acknowledges him only with a few runs in the middle of Hobgood’s solo; the remainder is about unorthodox structure and carefully built suspense.

 

There are definite through lines on Honor Thy Fathers, however. Hobgood likes to work in odd meters without being ostentatious about it; “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” for example, has a bouncing march groove that doesn’t sound like the 7/4 it is, and “The Road Home,” Hobgood’s tribute to Charlie Haden, is so downhome that its rhythm in 5 seems perfectly natural. The other recurring element is lyricism, credit for which goes to Patitucci as well. His lines are not only lyrical but have the dynamics and flexible tone of a human voice, as in both his lead and fecund solo on “Shirakumo No Michi.” The album is a sublime statement—perhaps the first of 2016.

 

Originally published in March 2016