Laurence Hobgood, Brian Torff, and Paul Wertico's Union is a busman's holiday for the musicians. On their second album, they take tunes from everywhere – the folk song "Jacob's Ladder," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Double Rainbow," Lionel Bart's "Where Is Love?" from the musical Oliver, and some originals – and have fun with them, sometimes playing slowly and thoughtfully, sometimes melodically and warmly, sometimes in cacophonous free improvisation. The spontaneity of the sessions is added to by the recording process, which is strictly direct to stereo, unmixed and unedited, and in that sense true jazz. The players are familiar enough with each other to play sympathetically, but since they only get together occasionally, there are plenty of surprises. It may not be their best, most considered work, but there's some fine playing. (William Ruhlmann, AMG)
Laurence Hobgood is best known for being singer Kurt Elling's regular pianist. Hobgood's solos are thoughtful and inventive, so it is only right that he finally has a chance to fully shine on this CD. The date actually features a co-op group that also includes the virtuosic bassist Brian Torff (who has had a lower profile since he impressed many during his period with George Shearing) and drummer Paul Wertico. Most of their collaborations on this set are taken at slow to medium tempos, with the improvisations being melodic, lightly swinging, and full of subtle surprises. Torff has a few features (being particularly impressive on "Amazing Grace"), Wertico plays well in support, and Hobgood is in top form. The program concludes with a humorous version of "What Am I Here For." Recommended (Scott Yanow, AMG).
As she examines the many misconceptions about the "Middle Ages", the renown French historian, Régine Pernoud, gives the reader a refreshingly original perspective on many subjects, both historical (from the Inquisition and witchcraft trials to a comparison of Gothic and Renaissance creative inspiration) as well as eminently modern (from law and the place of women in society to the importance of history and tradition). …
Laurence Juber, the former lead guitarist for Paul McCartney and Wings, is the premier solo acoustic guitarist of our generation. His arrangements are beautiful, fluid, and stunning, yet never does he sacrifice musicality for technical virtuosity. On this DVD, Laurence performs and explains six of his most popular solo guitar pieces in DADGAD and standart tuning. In the special lesson sections, Laurence walks you through the key aspects and techniques required for each arrangement, and you can select from multiple camera angles: watch the full performance or see a close-up right or left hand. In addition, several bonus song performances are included.
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