Laurence Hobgood, Charlie Haden, Kurt Elling – When The Heart Dances (2008)

Laurence Hobgood, Charlie Haden, Kurt Elling - When The Heart Dances (2008)
Artist: Laurence Hobgood, Charlie Haden, Kurt Elling
Album: When The Heart Dances
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
Label: Naim Audio Ltd.
Year Of Release: 2008
Quality: APE (image+.cue)

1. Que sera sera (6’41)
2. When The Heart Dances (4’49)
3. First Song (6’11)
4. Sanctuary (7’34)
5. Chickoree (5’17)
6. Sairway To The Stars (5’26)
7. New Orleans (5’39)
8. Why Did I Choose You (6’44)
9. Leatherwood (5’53)
10. Daydream (4’45)
11. The Cost Of Living (5’34)


Every time the jazz vocal supremo Kurt Elling performs, his pianist, Laurence Hobgood, somehow manages to both enhance his boss’s show and make you want to hear him play the whole gig on his own. This is Hobgood’s most rounded and complete album as a leader, pairing him with bass legend Charlie Haden as well as Elling on three tunes. It’s no radical makeover of jazz piano: Hobgood has strong Bill Evans connections, and he loves songs. But from the opening Que Sera Sera (a cheesy 50s Doris Day hit turned into a pensive, harmonically ambiguous rumination), the pianist indicates how vividly he can enrich each passing motivic whim. On his prancing then slowly swaying title track, Hobgood’s chords and buildup are pure Evans; Haden’s First Song is a vehicle for Kurt Elling’s swooping slow lines; the gospelly tour de force Sanctuary hints at Mehldau and Köln Concert Jarrett (though only as near-equals); and Hoagy Carmichael’s New Orleans celebrates jazz roots without a cliche or a lazy reference. Elling is occasionally a little stagey, but for the most part this album is a triumph.
John Fordham

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