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Union (Laurence Hobgood, Brian Torff, Paul Wertico)

The piano trio known as Union-comprising pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassist Brian Torff and drummer Paul Wertico-revels in the depth of its triologue: even among the multitude of bands that have honed Bill Evans’ concept of trio democracy, Union stands out. But when you consider that the band has performed together barely a dozen times-including club gigs and the recording sessions that have led to its two discs-the achievement becomes a little eerie.

“We pretty much base everything we do on listening to each other,” says Hobgood by way of explanation, fully aware that his statement amounts to something of a cliché in modern jazz. “The core fraternity of jazz is made up of people who know that, whatever other skills they have acquired, deep listening is at the heart of the music. But there is a range with respect to that. And I think the way we listen to each other, and the choices we make in our improvising, emphasize an empathic construct even more than other groups that listen a lot.”

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