Hobgood quintet to play Iron Post
URBANA — The Laurence Hobgood Quintet featuring saxophonist Ernie Watts will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at The Iron Post, 120 S. Race St.
Hobgood, an alumnus of Urbana High School who studied piano at the University of Illinois, plays jazz piano and is jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's music director. His quintet featuring Watts is touring the Midwest, with stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville and other cities.
Besides Hobgood and Watts on tenor sax, the other quintet members are Marquis Hill, trumpet; Jared Schonig, drums; and Clark Sommers, bass.
"It's an all-star band. The group is just phenomenal," Iron Post owner Paul Wirth said.
The cover charge will be $10.
A veteran musician, Watts plays saxophone — tenor, alto and soprano — and flute. He has performed with Charlie Haden's Quartet West, among many other artists including the Rolling Stones, and has received Grammy awards as an instrumentalist.
Watts also is noted for playing "The Mystery Horn" — a Conn straight-necked C melody sax — solo on Frank Zappa's album "The Grand Wazoo" in 1972.
Watts also works with Elling, whose album "Dedicated To You," featuring Watts, won a Grammy in 2010 for best jazz vocal album. This and last year, Watts toured with Doc Severinsen's Big Band. UI faculty members Chip McNeill and Glenn Wilson are touring with Severinsen's band this fall as well, as is recent UI alumnus Carlos Vega. All three play the saxophone.
While at the UI, Hobgood played for three years in the "A" jazz ensemble led by John Garvey. During that time he studied classical piano with UI Professor Ian Hobson.
After moving to Chicago in 1988, Hobgood peformed with Chicago's premier players, among them Ed Peterson, Fareed Haque and Paul Wertico. He began working with Elling in 1993; with Hobgood as his co-producer and musical director, Elling received Grammy nominations for each of his first three Blue Note releases.
The website All About Jazz describes Hobgood as "one of the finest pianists out there. Period."