Hudson, an all-star group with drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield have joined forces to record and tour in 2017. The ensemble takes its name from the Hudson Valley area of New York State, where each of these musicians resides.
The group originally came together in the fall of 2014 to perform at the Woodstock Jazz Festival. “There is a kindred spirit in the Hudson Valley,” says DeJohnette, “and 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.” In 2016, DeJohnette began looking for a project to commemorate his 75th birthday the following year. Fond memories of that performance had him seeking a reunion. In celebration of his milestone year, they’ll kick off their North American tour in June, followed by several large festival dates and the entire month of October.
With a magical recording in the can slated for release in 2017, all four are keen to share this inspired ensemble with the world. Encouraged by a fiery dynamic chemistry the album features original compositions as well as collected repertoire of Hudson Valley materials from Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” and “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” to The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek”, the Woodstock Festival’s Joni Mitchell anthem and Jimi Hendrix’s “Wait Until Tomorrow”.
This is a band with equal parts power and sublimity, pulling several musical genres into one interpretive statement of improvised jazz, punctuated with passion, skill and history.
“I am always inspired by the process of creating music with people who have a broad musical vocabulary,” says DeJohnette. “This can come from either years of experience or from the youthfulness and courageous spirit of a younger musician. The music of Hudson takes us in a variety of directions, and this is always an exciting journey.” Scofield is quick to add, “that’s why we’ve chosen to play together. We couldn’t do this with somebody else. We’ve chosen the repertoire because of the way everybody plays and we’re playing without a net.” “One of the trickiest things is finding that balance,” adds Medeski, “keeping the jazz spirit but at the same time being faithful to this rock or funk or folk music that we’re doing. It’s a really delicate, dangerous territory and the crucial factor is listening to each other and always being present.”
Nearly four decades of collaboration have instilled a longstanding respect between DeJohnette and Scofield. “John and I have an ability to communicate on the bandstand and in the studio that is unique to us alone,” adds Jack. Scofield sits in the fortunate position of being a longtime collaborator with all three of his bandmates here, though never before at the same time. After varied studios sessions, Scofield and DeJohnette played on Herbie Hancock’s 1995 album The New Standards and toured with the project. Scofield, DeJohnette and organist Larry Goldings toured extensively as a group called Trio Beyond and recorded the Grammy nominated album Saudades together. Grenadier has played with Scofield off and on for almost 20 years and the Scofield-Medeski collaborations began in 1997 as the highly acclaimed MMW offshoot Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood. MSMW has been well documented in four recordings and several tours.
This collective known as Hudson demonstrates qualities and virtues that are consistent with the place from which it takes its name – creatively rich, highly interactive and loaded with possibility. Hudson equally demonstrates the qualities and virtues consistent with each musician. Defying precise musical definition yet honoring the traditions by which each member developed, they are bonded as one unique and individual voice – coming to a town near you.
PENN AVE STAGE I
Sunday, June 18, 7:15 – 8:30pm