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Jazz supergroup remembers Woodstock, covers Dylan

JAZZ

Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski and John Scofield, "Hudson" (Motema, available early June).  Well, yes, it's clearly an imposing jazz supergroup, but how did they get together?

They first came together in the 2014 Woodstock Jazz Festival. All, it turned out, are current residents of the Hudson Valley. Hence the title of the group and the disc itself which actually allows a Supergroup's music to be "super."

What's terrific about this disc is that the location of their birth allows them to get together in versions of songs made famous by Woodstock residents or at the Woodstock festival in Bethel. So no, Bob Dylan wasn't at Woodstock in Bethel but he lived in the real Woodstock, so "Lay Lady Lay" is played here as well as "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" on which John Medeski does his best impersonation of a free jazz solo.

"Up on Cripple Creek" is played here in tribute to Dylan's neighbors and his favorite accompanists, The Band. What's so wondrous about the disc is the energy and brilliance by guitarist John Scofield in the company of drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Larry Grenadier. Their interplay is sensational--Scofield's minimalistic burn, DeJohnette's powerful triplets, and Grenadier's virtuoso support.

Medeski is, more or less, in the same ballpark but, in truth, while they're down on the field performing heroic derring-do, he's up in the stands selling ice cold beer. He's great to have, mind you, but he's not of the same caliber as the others. DeJohnette and Scofield together are spectacular.

3.5 stars (out of four)

Email: jsimon@buffnews.com

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