Hobgood, Torff & Wertico/Union/Laurence Hobgood: Laurence Hobgood; Brian Torff (bass guitar); Paul Wertico.
Personnel: Laurence Hobgood (piano); Paul Wertico (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Steppenwolf Studio Theatre, Chicago, IL (12/21/1998/12/22/1998).
Photographer: Anna Tooth.
The second co-op recording by the trio of pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassist Brian Torff, and drummer Paul Wertico at times is reminiscent musically of the Bill Evans Trio. However, there are some striking departures. The brief "State of the Union" is free-form and a bit violent, there are individual unaccompanied features for Torff ("Willow Weep for Me") and Wertico ("Calling Song"), and Hobgood's playing is sometimes more aggressive than that of Evans. The pianist, who is best known for his work with singer Kurt Elling, is in excellent form and it is for the rare opportunity to hear him stretch out that State of the Union and its predecessor, Union, are most recommended. ~ Scott Yanow