NAIM label stablemates Laurence Hobgood and bassist Charlie Haden countermand the current frenetic state of events in modern-day rat race soundbyte society with this beautiful recording of duets, solo piano tracks, and three offerings with Kurt Elling. Soothing the savage society, this music is sure to appeal to those who need a leaner, trimmed back, more serene dose of reality to balance what has become a world torn by strife, uncertainty, and fear. This is not to say this is music lacking substance or intrigue -- far from it. Both pianist Hobgood and bassist Haden, clearly virtuosos, think on their feet together and separately, creating cohesive vistas of beauty, spirituality, emotional depth, or in a general sense, togetherness. They've chosen well-known standards adapted to their sensitive natures, in the case of "Que Sera Sera" an acceptant reverent and quiet adaptation of the oh well/whatever theme. Hoagy Carmichael's "New Orleans" starts in a clever, modernized two step folded into a blues frame, "Why Did I Choose You?" is both romantic and quizzical, and the incredible pretty and dark melody of Don Grolnick's "The Cost of Living," immortalized by Michael Brecker, is as stunningly emotional a tango inferred piece as has ever been written. Haden's "Chickoree" is bouncier in midtempo pace, still low key, with Hobgood's stride flavorings, while the pianist composed the title selection in a cascading waltz to light terpsichore that Haden follows along with beautifully. The tracks with the ever coy and wistful Elling include Haden's famous reflective ballad "First Song," including the poignant lyric about a "song that lightened up the world, when love was new." "Stairway to the Stars" showcases the vocalists spontaneous quality in elongating phrases and dynamics, while the Duke Ellington penned, drifting away waltz "Daydream" has Elling in a very deep, very midnight blue mood. Hobgood's solo works are as captivating as anything else, especially "Leatherwood" with its spirited and folksy stance, or the sheltering "Sanctuary," half church, half wedding song. An excellent recording from start to finish, played with extraordinary intimacy, heart and soul, this wondrous music is specifically built for those times in life when relaxation is a prerequisite to get one on to the next better day.
When the Heart Dances
When the Heart Dances Review
by Michael G. Nastos
|11||Laurence Hobgood feat: Charlie Haden||05:33||SpotifyAmazon|