All-Star Band Hudson To Release Album, Tour North America

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The members of Hudson (clockwise from top right) are Larry Grenadier, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette and John Medeski.

(Photo: Bill Douthart)

The new band Hudson includes four of the most acclaimed musicians in jazz: drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield. The quartet recently recorded a studio album that is slated for release this summer. The band takes its name from the Hudson Valley area in New York state, where each of these musicians resides.

DeJohnette, who will turn 75 on Aug. 9, will celebrate his milestone birthday by hitting the road. Hudson’s tour of North America includes a performance on June 30 at the Montreal Jazz Festival. (That show, held at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal, will be a double bill with saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s quartet.)

The members of Hudson originally came together in 2014 to perform at the Woodstock Jazz Festival. “There is a kindred spirit in the Hudson Valley,” DeJohnette said. “There are many musicians who live in the area who represent a variety of genres. In recent years, we have only been able to collaborate locally on occasion due to our individual musical obligations, but the fact remains that there’s a common language that we all speak—something that emerges from our shared environment and our shared surroundings.”

Grenadier also feels that an artist’s environment can be a driving force in the creative process. He draws a similar sense of inspiration from the Hudson Valley—a locale that offers a placid alternative to the frenetic pace of nearby New York City.

“The musicians who migrated up this way from the city were not escaping the music,” Grenadier explained. “They were looking for a way to go deeper into it. The space and the atmosphere of the area create an ideal place to find the music within. We all travel and play so much around the world that when we are home, we’re in a place that’s full of quietude and we have room to search for the beauty and space within music.”

“The Hudson Valley,” Medeski added, “puts the gentle beauty and power of very old mountains and an incredible river estuary within reach of one of the most powerful, international, creative centers in the world—New York City. I think each of us, in our own way, uses these forces as tools to keep us creative and growing.”

Scofield has previously collaborated not only with Medeski but also with DeJohnette. The guitarist vividly recalls his very first gig with the legendary drummer at the venue Sweet Basil in New York City in 1978. Later that same year, Scofield recorded with DeJohnette for the first time on the Zbigniew Siefert album Passion.

“I’ve learned so much playing with Jack and feel lucky to have gotten to play with him as much as I have,” said Scofield, who—like DeJohnette—played on Herbie Hancock’s 1995 album The New Standards and toured with the project.

Scofield, DeJohnette and organist Larry Goldings collaborated on Saudades, a 2006 double-disc live album that captured their group Trio Beyond at the London Jazz Festival in 2004. Trio Beyond toured extensively in support of Saudades.

“Playing with Jack on those two albums [The New Standards and Saudades]—along with my own Time On My Hands album in 1990—are among my proudest recorded moments,” Scofield said.

“I am always inspired by the process of creating music with people who have a broad musical vocabulary,” DeJohnette said. “This can come from either years of experience or from the youthfulness and courageous spirit of a younger musician. The music of Hudson will take us in a variety of directions, and this is always an exciting journey for me.”

Each member of Hudson has earned numerous accolades. DeJohnette topped the Drums category in both the 2016 DownBeat Critics Poll and the 2016 DownBeat Readers Poll.

On Feb. 12, Scofield won two Grammy awards. His 2016 album, Country For Old Men (Impulse!), was honored in the category Best Jazz Instrumental Album. A track from the album—a rendition of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”—won a Grammy in the category Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Scofield’s 2015 release, Past Present (Impulse!), also won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

To read DownBeat’s recap of the 2017 Grammy ceremony, click here. DB



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July 2019
Anat Cohen
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