A Weekend Workshop for Singers with Laurence Hobgood


Musical understanding and improvisation
May 5 & 6, 2018 | Melbourne, Australia

Jazz pianist, composer, arranger, producer, Yamaha® artist and Grammy® winner Laurence Hobgood has enjoyed a 30+year career.  Highlights include: three consecutive Fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival (1990, '91, '92), being chosen as a 1995 Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts,  a 2003 Deems Taylor Award given by ASCAP for the year’s outstanding music journalism, multiple Grammy® nominations and a 2010 Grammy® Award.  He's played at many of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the White House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Tanglewood, Hollywood Bowl, and the Sydney Opera House.

Laurence loves singers and working with singers, as you can see when you review his long history with Kurt Elling, and ongoing projects with Barb Junger, Rhiannon, and many, many other singers for whom he arranges, produces, accompanies and musically supports with love and kindness. Laurence and Rhiannon enjoy a duo project: The Two Of Us-and they also offer a week long residency in Hawaii: It's All Music: Exploring the fundamental connection between improvisation and song form

For almost 20 years Laurence served as pianist/ arranger/ collaborator/ co-producer for singer Kurt Elling during which time he wrote virtually all of the material on Elling's first ten albums, all of which received Grammy® nominations.. 

a few words from Laurence: : two heads are better than one. There's no better way to describe both the allure and the logic of collaboration. Without even delving into its deeper conceptual mysticism, collaboration implies an inherent algorithm: the more different the two heads in question happen to be, the more likely they'll come up with something uniquely cool. Adaptability to different personal styles of working is a crucial element of collaboration.

I've been privileged to collaborate with many great, unique artistic minds. My 18-year collaboration with singer Kurt Elling is perhaps best known and documented; I've also been fortunate to work with many other great singers and players, ranging from individual commissioned arrangements (Regina Carter, Chanticleer) to having an ensemble role as pianist plus arranging (Jackie Allen, Alicia Olatuja, Carter Calvert, etc.) to full-on production involvement (Charmaine Clamor, Tammy McCann), including my latest project, "Shelter From The Storm" with the U.K.-based, inspiring musician/singer Barb Jungr.

And then of course there's "Poemjazz", my ongoing collaboration with former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky which now includes frequent appearances by master multi- instrumentalist and vocalist Stan Strickland. Robert and I just released our second CD, "House Hour/Poemjazz II", on the Circumstantial label. This has been one of the most rewarding, enlightening and fascinating experiences of my life; it's also a very interesting example of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

In this rare workshop in Melbourne, Laurence will present opportunities to delve into diverse but umbilically connected issues faced by all jazz/improvisational singers    Limit 20.

Location:  Scrap Museum, Bakehouse Studios
Bakehouse Studios   
27-29 Little Hoddle St, Richmond

Sat-Sun, May 5-6, 2018
10 am - 1 pm, 2:30 - 5:30 pm both days (6 hrs each day)
Fee: $250  Register now

We will be in the Scrap Museum workshop space at Bakehouse Studios.

About the Workshop

Listening to Jazz: The Informed Ear

This is a highly adaptable workshop; the goal is to enhance the experience of listening to jazz with actual, specific, comprehensible information. This is achieved through discussion, definition and demonstration of musical form, using familiar repertoire as examples. Because we’ll be utilizing tunes we easily recognize it’s a bit like walking through a park you’ve walked through 1,000 times -- only this time with a botanist.

We’ll examine the basics of rhythm, tempo and time signature(s) to set a framework for understanding the phrasing/form of a given song, including a brief primer on the core issues governing melodic “construction” itself. Then we’ll dissect the three critical strata: the song’s melody, chord progression and bass line, showing how they fit together to “form” a cycle-able sequence of measures and resulting phrases over which improvisation can occur.

We’ll discuss the core process for conceiving jazz lines -- alternate melodies if you will -- and hear examples ranging from minimal (less busy than the song’s melody) to complex/dense (much busier than the song’s melody and therefore more like what most people associate with jazz.) And this will all unfold in a way that centers around the idea of truly understanding (and being able to follow) the underlying “schematic” of the song in question.

Vocal Jazz Workshop: Beyond Technique 

Although not a vocal coach in the classic sense, Laurence brings a wealth of experience/success from years of working with some of jazz’s finest singers to this clinic: from how to interact with the band to making great connections with the audience this workshop also focuses on the deeper issues of gesturality in phrasing, rhythmic interpretation, projection, dramatization and emotional delivery, choosing alternate melodic approaches and more.

As the workshop progresses we’ll focus on the issues that seem most interesting to participants. 
Everyone will have an opportunity to sing, both in groups and one on one with Laurence at the piano.

Topics will include:

✻ Solo and group improvisation
✻ Choosing repertoire and innovative arranging 
✻ Methods for making alternate melodic choices and enhanced gesturality in phrasing 
✻ Philosophy of practice that can free us from “spinning wheel” syndrome 
✻ A discussion of the importance of rhythmic awareness and explanation of rhythmic notation 
✻ Breaking down elements of music theory to make them both more comprehensible and practical 
✻ Good rehearsal techniques and relating to instrumentalists "on the stand”
✻ Making a record: breaking down key elements of the production process 

Register now--limited to 20 singers.

More about Laurence

For almost 20 years, Hobgood served as pianist, arranger and co-producer for singer Kurt Elling, during which time he wrote virtually all of the material on Elling's first ten albums, all of which received Grammy® nominations. 2009’s Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane and Hartman, recorded live at Lincoln Center, won the 2010 Grammy® Award for Best Vocal Jazz Record, with Hobgood receiving one of the coveted statues for his work as producer.  Hobgood's 2009 CD, When The Heart Dances, featured duets with iconic bassist Charlie Haden. His Christmas CD was chosen by both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune as one of the best Holiday CDs of 2013. Laurence is currently involved in an ongoing recording/performance project Poemjazz with 3-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and Tesseterra, an ensemble project in collaboration with string quartet Ethel. laurencehobgood.com