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"In their tremendous PoemJazz collaboration, Robert Pinsky and Laurence Hobgood establish a wholly simpatico artistic partnership. On every track, Hobgood improvised every note in the studio, concurrent with Pinsky's readings. Pinsky proves himself an equally adept improviser. His are not dramatic interpretations of the poems but musical ones, the focus on cadence and harmony with Hobgood." - Christopher Louden, Jazz Times

An Evening of PoemJazz ft. Robert Pinsky & Laurence Hobgood

Featuring: Special guest
Stan Strickland

An Evening of POEMJAZZ" featuring renowned poet ROBERT PINSKY and Grammy®-winning jazz pianist LAURENCE HOBGOOD comes to Greater Boston, in concert and live at The Regattabar.

POEMIAZZ treats a voice speaking poetry as having a role like that of a horn: speech with its own poetic melody and rhythm, in conversation with what the music is doing. To put it simply, POEMJAZZ is a conversation between the sounds of poetry and music. HOUSE HOUR, PoemJazz II is a new CD, just recorded by Robert Pinsky and Laurence Hobgood on the Circumstantial Productions label. The limited edition CDs HOUSE HOUR: PoemJazz II and PoemJazz I are available now at and at Robert and Laurence's POEMJAZZ performances.

Cambridge resident Robert Pinsky, the only three-term United States Poet Laureate, brings an innovative energy to all he does. In 2011, his acclaimed Selected Poems appeared. In 2010, his libretto for Tod Machover's opera Death and the Powers: A Robot Pageant premiered in Monaco before coming to Boston's American Repertory Theatre. Last year, his adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein was presented by the Shakespeare Theater of Washington, D.C.

As Poet Laureate, Robert founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans--of varying backgrounds, all ages, from every state-- continue to share their favorite poems, as documented by video segments, as seen on PBS and now at

Connecting all of these projects is Pinsky's conviction--clear to anyone who has heard him read a poem--that poetry is a vocal, bodily art, closely allied to music. For that reason, POEMJAZZ, his collaboration with Laurence Hobgood, expresses something at the core of Robert Pinsky's art.

"In jazz, as in poetry," Robert Pinsky told The Paris Review in an interview, "there is always that play between what's regular and what's wild. That has always appealed to me."

Contemporary virtuoso pianist, collaborator, composer, arranger, producer, educator; multiple Grammy® nominee and 2010 Grammy® winner Laurence Hobgood has enjoyed a multi-faceted and dynamic career. Perhaps best known as musical director for singer Kurt Elling from 1995 to 2013 Hobgood played on, composed, arranged and co-produced ten of Elling's CDs (six for Blue Note and four for Concord), each Grammy® nominated. 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 February 2012 release, POEMJAZZ on the Circumstantial label, is an adventurous collaboration with poet Robert Pinsky. It features Pinsky's energetic readings of his poems with an emphasis on musical phrasing (as opposed to "dramatic" phrasing) coupled with Hobgood's engaging, thematic improvised accompaniment, played live in studio simultaneous with the distinguished poet's recitations.

"Every track on House Hour was recorded live, as a totally improvised interaction, the two of us playing simultaneously. (And yes, Robert is playing, not reading.) As in a duet between, say, tenor saxophone and piano, the magic of PoemJazz is in shared spontaneity. Robert's PoemJazz performances are based on his poems, but his tracks are musically conceived by him (remember he was a saxophonist early in life) using the sounds of words he's intimately familiar with because he wrote them. In a PoemJazz performance his focus, like mine, is on sound," says Hobgood.

His 2012 CD, Laurence Hobgood Quartet Featuring Ernie Watts also on Circumstantial, was recorded live at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis and it features vibrant performances of all original repertoire.

Hobgood's 2013 release Christmas was chosen by both The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune as one of the top Holiday CDs of the year. In The New York Times, Nate Chinen said, "For most of this beautifully recorded album, he's alone at the piano, unspooling solemn reveries after the example of his north star, Keith Jarrett."

And The Chicago Tribune's Howard Reich wrote, "Can overplayed holiday repertoire be transformed into art? It can when Hobgood is at work, the pianist turning in one of the most appealing recordings of an already distinguished career with Christmas."

And in December of 2014 Hobgood recorded a new trio project, Honor Thy Fathers, with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Kendrick Scott; the disc is slated for a 2016 release.

HOUSE HOUR PoemJazz II is a Circumstantial Production.

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