Welcome to the world of Evidential, the debut release of The Mike Hobart Quintet. The House of Jazz has many rooms. Some bands want to make you dance, some want to make you think. Some even want to scare you a bit. The Mike Hobart Quintet do all this, in one rich package of funk, bop and soulful balladry. The scary bit? That they’re so damn good.
But don’t take my word for it. The tone is set by the mischievous joys of the title track, inspired by the timeless Thelonious Monk. Evidential kicks in with a bop clarion call that stirs the soul. But swiftly turns to a killer bass riff, and a deep funk drive that remains restless, urgent, joyous. This is a band having the best of times: and they invite you to join the fun.
The same spirit, serious, but seriously enjoyable, underwrites the whole album, whether it’s the sweet soul of a classic cover like Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes or on the Chris Lee penned contemporary vibe of Victory To The Underdog.
There’s an old cliché in jazz that a band is bigger than its parts. But look closer at the Mike Hobart Quintet and those individual parts are impressive in their own right. Here generation and heritage criss-cross and collude, from the mighty Jazz Warriors to new-band-on-the-block Partikel and from the Ethiopian-jazz of Mulatu Astatke to Pigbag’s punk jazz pzazz.
And through it all, like a river, runs Mike Hobart’s tenor, drawing on a world of experience from blues to Blue Note, from Bop to Glam Rock (you better believe it).
So you are holding in your hand not just the debut release of The Mike Hobart Quintet. It’s also an intense distillation of the music they call Jazz. Big music played with a passionate cool. It’s Evidential.
– Andy Robson Jazzwise
Mike Hobart is an experienced and soulful saxophonist who has played with the likes of Esther Phillips and Maceo Parker. His first inspirations were the flowing freedoms of Miles Davis’1960s quintet and the soulful blues of Ray Charles, but a lot has happened since then. Evidential puts it all together, adds new beats and keeps it swinging hard.
Chris Lee is a founder member of the 1980s punk-jazz band Pig Bag. His influences range from the mainstream to free improvisation – he joined the London Musicians Collective in 1986 – and his many sessions include work with The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. He formed his own band Such Sweet Thunder in 1997.
Greg Gottlieb has been a busy, versatile bassist since moving to the UK from Australia in 2010. He has recently been playing his way through post-graduate studies at Middlesex University and is a core member of emerging jazz/world music ensembles Bahla, Caravela and Telajeta.
Eric Ford is a member of the well-received band Partikel and a rising star of UK jazz. He’s in demand in the UK having played with the likes of Guy Barker, Jim Mullen, Nathaniel Facey and Jim Hart and recorded with Marc Almond and Nicolas Meier, amongst many others. “
Danny Keane is an in-demand pianist/cellist with a busy working schedule. Recent credits include Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics. He is currently working on an album of original material.