In February of 2016 Hobgood released a new trio CD, Honor Thy Fathers (Circumstantial), with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Kendrick Scott. Recorded at New York's legendary Sear Sound, the album features original compositions and innovative arrangements of standard and popular tunes (for example, Stevie Wonder's 'If It's Magic' as an up-tempo burner), each dedicated to one of Hobgood's personal inspirations.
In his JazzTimes review of the CD Michael J. West wrote:
It’s easy to hear similarities between Laurence Hobgood’s piano and that of Brad Mehldau... The album is a sublime statement — perhaps the first of 2016.
And Howard Mandel wrote this in the CD's DownBeat review:
Overall the ambiance is warm, dark and reflective, which is not to discount the Hobgood's strategically big, broad voicings, streaming glissandi and consistently perfect articulation.
Hobgood will principally tour this material with his working trio which features dynamic New York musicians Jared Schonig on drums and Matt Clohesy on bass. Performing an early preview of the CD's program in October of 2015, this group received high praise from the Chicago Tribune's Howard Reich:
The most important takeaway from this occasion, though, was not so much the persuasiveness of Hobgood's pianism or the musicality of his arrangements, which are well-known, but the alacrity of this trio. Just as ‘Honor Thy Fathers’ can be considered Hobgood's strongest recording to date, this band may provide his best musical forum yet, opening a major new chapter in his career.
Laurence’s newest project, “ t e s s e t e r r a ,” will be released in March of 2019 on UK-based Ubuntu Records.
“ t e s s e t e r r a” is writing for the trio and string quartet — in this case the string quartet ETHEL, the same group that played on the Grammy®-winning CD Dedicated To You. The repertoire is all iconic songs intricately arranged and orchestrated for this ensemble by Hobgood (the writing spanned four and a half years of work). From Hoagy Carmichael to Crosby, Stills and Nash; Sting to Cole Porter to Paul McCartney and even Chopin, the music dances with energy — totally accessible, replete with elements of jazz/classical crossover, the recording is both ambitious and totally engaging.
(Also of interest, the cover art for “t e s s e t e r r a“ will be a painting by world-renowned modernist Alex Katz and the liner notes are written by Robert Pinsky.)
Hobgood's collaborative associations have flourished between 2013 and the present: he's written for, played on and/or produced projects by Regina Carter, Arianna Neikrug, Barb Jungr, Alicia Olatuja, Charmaine Clamor, Tammy McCann and Carter Calvert.
Hobgood has performed with his own groups, Elling and others 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 the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals including Montreaux, North Sea, Monterey, Spoleto USA, Newport, Umbria, Montreal, JVC festivals in Paris and Japan and many others. Hobgood also appeared with Elling at the 2009 State Dinner given at the White House where President Obama welcomed India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Hobgood has played and/or recorded with Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, John Patitucci, Jon Hendricks, Regina Carter, Stefon Harris, Arturo Sandoval, Richard Galliano, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Terreon Gully, Terence Blanchard, Bob Sheppard, Ernie Watts, Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano, Bennie Maupin, Paul Wertico, Bobby Watson, Clark Terry, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Anat Cohen, Bob Mintzer, Mark Murphy, Von Freeman, Peter Erskine, Paul McCandless, Gary Burton and Eddie Daniels, among others.
Hobgood lives in New York City with his wife, singer and actress Ariane Malia Reinhart, daughter of modern dance impresario Charles Reinhart.
— Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
photos by David Belusic
"Whatever he ends up doing next with his pen and piano, it will no doubt be swinging."
"Yes, something momentous is indeed coming."
NEW YORK TIMES
"The sheer beauty of Hobgood's tone and touch are worth savoring."