One of the most satisfying albums of 2017 so far comes to us from Hudson, a supergroup that takes its name from the Hudson River Valley they call home. A remarkable recording of solid grooves, Hudson is a remarkable debut from a band that comes together as if they have performed as a unit for years.
The highlight on this recording is clearly "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall". The Bob Dylan classic is given a very soulful treatment with deep musical colors. Slowly, the listener notices that the tune has transformed itself somehow into a whirlwind of a organ and drum conversation, reminding this listener of "Pharaoh's Dance" from the Miles Davis recording Bitches Brew. And not surprisingly so because the drummer, Jack DeJohnette, was in the studio with Miles during the making of that historic date. The keyboardist, John Medeski, famously of Medeski, Martin and Wood, is more than capable to create that spacey, hypnotic feel. Together, with John Scofield(who also worked with Miles Davis) and ace bassist Larry Grenadier, the band is truly cookin'.
Another Dylan tune gets a fine treatment also. "Lay Lady Lay" is a showcase for John Scofield's guitar artistry, and he interprets the melody of the song to perfection. DeJohnette provides all of the right percussive strokes to amplify Scofield's work.
John Medeski is in the spotlight on a funky reading of The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek", where Medeski's piano funky stylings invite his colleagues to follow suit with toe-tapping accents and statements.
Hudson's rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" is gorgeous. And as this writer has spent many summer vacations in the Catskill mountains the groove the band sets on this tune is exactly the right relaxed one.
The album is also in part a celebration of the birthday of Jack DeJohnette's birthday. The legendary jazz drummer turns 75 years young this year.
Jack DeJohnette: drums
Larry Grenadier: bass
John Medeski: piano, organ
John Scofield: guitar
More information is available at: http://www.jackdejohnette.com/