Laurence Hobgood: When The Heart dances (4 stars)

Laurence Hobgood: When The Heart dances

Pianist Laurence Hobgood is a somewhat underrated figure on the jazz piano spectrum, perhaps largely because we have come to think of him as a masterly accompanist to singer Kurt Elling rather than a soloist in his own right. Hobgood appeared with Elling and the Norbotton Big Band in a memorable Edinburgh concert in January, but is heard in a more revealing setting here.

The disc features the pianist in a series of absorbing duets with the great bass player Charlie Haden, and on solo piano on two of his own compositions, ‘Sanctuary’ and the effervescent ‘Leatherwood’. Three vocal contributions from Elling, including ‘Stairway to the Stars’ and Ellington’s ‘Daydream’, provide a considerable bonus. The prevailing reflective mood seems congenial to both instrumentalists, and their response is both subtle and majestic.

(Naim Records)

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