Laurence Hobgood – Crazy World (2005/2013) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Laurence Hobgood Trio – Crazy World (2005/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 66:40 minutes | 1,44 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet | Source: NAIM

The Laurence Hobgood Trio have perfected their craft through playing with US jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, who appears on two tracks on Crazy World, the trio’s debut album. The ten tracks on the album are a mixture of Laurence’s original compositions and his own arrangements, with one track contribured by Rob Amster. Six times Grammy nominee Kurt Elling makes a guest appearance to provide delicate vocal inspiration on two tracks recorded exclusively for this album.

For his fourth recording as a leader apart from his regular duties with Kurt Elling, pianist Laurence Hobgood provides a tonic for the troops. This release of mostly originals and a few familiar songs is subdued by Hobgood’s standards. Usually a pronounced, active, and busy player, he’s toned it down as an antidote to the insane rat race existence many of us face. The mood overall is introspective, but not at all dull or languid, as Hobgood and regular rhythm mates Rob Amster on bass and Paul Wertico on drums play a series of very modern compositions that sport distinctive traditional, classical, and faith-based elements. The CD begins with a folkish, light funky, and bouncy gospel-shaded “Revival,” exploring pure melodicism. A hauntingly deep waltz “Prayer for the Enemy,” a restrained take of the popular stage tune “When in Rome,” the anticipatory, tidy bass-fronted dirge “March to Epiphany,” and a contemporary singsong, church-informed “Trinity” hold the trio in sway. But this project concludes even more strong musically on a contrasting harmonic and spiritual level. A healing “The Dreaded Symphony,” a quite pretty version of Henry Mancini’s “Crazy World,” and the huge 14-and-a-half-minute “Windowman,” with its baroque introduction and steady, deeply reflective, divine body of hope and quiet optimism, take the project out in a different light. Kurt Elling is here for two songs — a wonderful straight read of the pining ballad “More Than You Know” and a supple samba take of the Fred Hersch composition “Endless Stars.” For some of Hobgood’s fans this album might come as a surprise, but for those who do know the tender, gentle, and sensitive side of Hobgood’s genius, this will be an album to proudly own along with his other recorded efforts.

01 – Revival
02 – Prayer for the Enemy
03 – When in Rome
04 – March to Epiphany
05 – Trinity
06 – More Than You Know
07 – The Dreaded Symphony
08 – Crazy World
09 – Endless Stars
10 – Windowman

Produced by Laurence Hobgood.

Laurence Hobgood – piano
Rob Amster – bass
Frank Parker – drums
Kurt Elling – (guest) vocals