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Recording Of The Month: Hudson

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Friday August 18, 2017

From Stereophile

Recording of the Month: Hudson
By: Robert Baird

DeJohnette, Grenadier, Medeski, Scofield: Hudson
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

Sometimes, a successful recording is not about the material, the studio, the producer, or even the players involved. Sometimes, it’s about a shared feeling that grows among the players and conjures a groove. Grooves can be hard to find, especially among accomplished players recording together for the first time who have styles, ideas, and egos of their own. But once achieved, this invisible bond, this feeling of being in sync, should sound easy—as if there’s nothing to it. It’s this sort of natural, authentic pace and feeling that makes Hudson, the first recording from the quartet of Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, and John Scofield, such a success.

As the pathway leading north out of the often frustrating clamor of Gotham, the Hudson River has long looked like a paradise. In the early 19th century it inspired the fanciful, idyllic realism of the Hudson River School of painting, which was founded by Thomas Cole and eventually came to include his student Frederic Edwin Church and, to some extent, Albert Bierstadt.

The quartet of musicians, all of whom live nearby the artistic nexus of Woodstock—whose name was once attached to a 1969 music festival held 60 miles away, in Bethel, New York—take the name of the river itself. The quartet and its self-titled album are being touted as the work of a jazz “supergroup,” which considering the resumes is in the ballpark. DeJohnette (who’s played with Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett), Grenadier (Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny), Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood, The Word), and Scofield (Miles Davis, Charles Mingus) first came together to mark DeJohnette’s 75th birthday.

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