First comes the beat: Jack DeJohnette whips up an elliptical funk rhythm, combining a metronomic ride cymbal with a hiccupping kick and snare. Larry Grenadier locates the center of this slanted pulse and adds a stark, suggestive bass part. John Medeski fills in the midrange with a droning Hammond organ and a distorted Fender Rhodes. Then comes John Scofield’s electric guitar, run through filters that add a sharp metallic tang.
This collegial throwdown is unfolding about a week into the new year, at an out-of-the-way studio in New York’s Hudson Valley, where each musician resides—hence Hudson, the name of the group. From the control booth, where recording engineer Scott Petito keeps a watchful eye on the levels, a window offers a view of Scofield, DeJohnette and Medeski, who share space in a single room. Grenadier plucks away in an adjoining booth, off to one side. Nobody is making eye contact, but everybody’s deeply dialed in.