A limited edition EP recording, The Laurence Hobgood Quartet featuring Ernie Watts is being released on the Circumstantial Productions label in conjunction with this show. The CD, recorded live at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis on April 2, 2012 will be available at www.circumstantial.us and at the show. The release features the same band that is appearing in Cambridge, with the exception of Jimmy Greene on saxophone for the live show.
“We’ll be focusing on my original compositions, admittedly material that the audience is probably unfamiliar with,” says Hobgood. “Over the last 17 years with Kurt [Elling] I feel like we’ve learned how to assemble a set that has an overall ‘story arc’ and really engrosses the audience--the goal being to make 75 minutes seem like 25. I’ve been delighted to see this happening on our LH Quartet gigs also--the special CD from Indy with Ernie is a prime example--and whole rooms of folks who just heard a set of challenging music are electing to stay and hear another! That’s a great feeling.”
Best known for his collaboration with vocalist Kurt Elling, multiple Grammy-nominee and 2010 Grammy-winner Laurence Hobgood has enjoyed a multi-faceted and dynamic career. Musical Director for Elling since 1995, he’s played on, composed, arranged and co-produced all of Elling’s CDs (six for Blue Note and three for Concord), each Grammy-nominated. 2009’s Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane and Hartman, recorded live at Lincoln Center, won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Jazz Record.
Hobgood began formal piano study at age six in Dallas, Texas, where his father was Chairman of the Southern Methodist University theatre program. At age 12, he was introduced to gospel and blues through his family's church. Several years later, after moving to Illinois, he began formal training in jazz. He attended the University of Illinois, where he played for three years in the "A" jazz ensemble led by John Garvey. During that time his classical study continued with Ian Hobson.
After moving to Chicago in 1988, he established a local presence leading his own quintet and joining forces with some of Chicago's premier players, including Ed Peterson, Fareed Haque, and most importantly seven-time Grammy Award-winning drummer, Paul Wertico. The group, Trio New, with Hobgood, Wertico, and bassist Eric Hochberg, played to critical acclaim and established a serious connection with Wertico that spans many projects and ensembles.
In 1990, 1991, and 1992, Hobgood received three consecutive fellowships to perform at the Aspen Music Festival. There he played with Clark Terry, Gary Burton, Eddie Daniels, Sheila Jordon, Bob Mintzer and Mark Whitfield, among others.
In 1993, Hobgood met Kurt Elling and began a collaboration that resulted in Elling's signing with the storied Blue Note label; with Hobgood as his co-producer and musical director, Elling received Grammy nominations for each of his first three Blue Note releases. The two became great friends and were named 1995 Chicagoans of The Year in the Arts by the Chicago Tribune.
In 1996, Hobgood joined with Paul Wertico and bassist Brian Torff to form a new trio called Union, which released two CDs on the Naim label. Since then he has found time, amidst almost constant touring, writing and recording projects with Elling, to record three further headlining projects for Naim.
In 2003, he received a Deems Taylor Award, given by ASCAP for the year’s outstanding music journalism, for his article, The Art Of The Trio, published by JazzTimes Magazine.
With Kurt Elling as well as with his own Laurence Hobgood Trio, Hobgood has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Ravinia, the Sydney Opera House, London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Halls, as well as many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals including Montreaux, North Sea, Monterey, Spoleto USA, Newport, Umbria, Montreal and JVC festivals in Paris and Japan and many others.
Laurence Hobgood has played and/or recorded with a virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz, including Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, John Pattitucci, Jon Hendricks, Stefon Harris, Richard Galliano, Terreon Gully, Terrence Blanchard, Bob Sheppard, Ernie Watts, Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano, Benny Maupin, Paul Wertico, Bobby Watson, Clark Terry, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Bob Mintzer, Mark Murphy, Von Freeman, Peter Erskine, Paul McCandless, Gary Burton and Eddie Daniels, to name a few.
Since its release in 2008, Hobgood’s most recent Naim CD, When The Heart Dances, a duet recording with iconic bassist Charlie Haden, has received worldwide critical acclaim, garnering 4-star reviews from DownBeat and the United Kingdom’s Mojo Magazine among others.
And, on November 24, 2009, Laurence Hobgood performed with Kurt Elling at President Barack Obama’s historic first State Department Dinner at the White House, where President Obama welcomed India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
And Elling’s third Concord CD, The Gate, co-produced by Elling and Hobgood with music legend Don Was, has received a 2012 Grammy nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Album.”
A long time Chicago native, Hobgood moved to New York in 2006 and now lives on the south shore of Long Island.