In 1970, Ashton, Gardner & Dyke somehow ended up supplying the soundtrack music to an obscure Western starring football star Joe Namath. Also important to the soundtrack's composition and performance was Deep Purple's Jon Lord, who co-wrote the score with Tony Ashton and shared keyboard parts with Ashton as well. Like many soundtracks, it's a jumble of pieces that might have served adequately as background music to specific scenes…
Laurence Hobgood, Brian Torff, and Paul Wertico's Union is a busman's holiday for the musicians. On their second album, they take tunes from everywhere – the folk song "Jacob's Ladder," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Double Rainbow," Lionel Bart's "Where Is Love?" from the musical Oliver, and some originals – and have fun with them, sometimes playing slowly and thoughtfully, sometimes melodically and warmly, sometimes in cacophonous free improvisation. The spontaneity of the sessions is added to by the recording process, which is strictly direct to stereo, unmixed and unedited, and in that sense true jazz. The players are familiar enough with each other to play sympathetically, but since they only get together occasionally, there are plenty of surprises. It may not be their best, most considered work, but there's some fine playing. (William Ruhlmann, AMG)
Laurence Hobgood is best known for being singer Kurt Elling's regular pianist. Hobgood's solos are thoughtful and inventive, so it is only right that he finally has a chance to fully shine on this CD. The date actually features a co-op group that also includes the virtuosic bassist Brian Torff (who has had a lower profile since he impressed many during his period with George Shearing) and drummer Paul Wertico. Most of their collaborations on this set are taken at slow to medium tempos, with the improvisations being melodic, lightly swinging, and full of subtle surprises. Torff has a few features (being particularly impressive on "Amazing Grace"), Wertico plays well in support, and Hobgood is in top form. The program concludes with a humorous version of "What Am I Here For." Recommended (Scott Yanow, AMG).
Juber aims this 2-DVD set of lessons at guitar players who would like to expand their options by learning the musicality behind the act of playing. As Juber describes it, he would like this DVD to be viewed as a "resource for guitarists" which describes advanced musical concepts that many musicians may be familiar with by ear, but not necessarily by name. By progressively explaining these concepts, Juber guides viewers through the sometimes intimidating study of music theory.