Jazz super group, Hudson, gives “Up on Cripple Creek” a nuanced twist


The jazz super group known as Hudson takes on the rock classic, “Up on Cripple Creek” with nuanced style.

About Hudson

The group’s album “Hudson” contains their version of The Band’s 1969 classic. The jazz ensemble’s album is full of rock and folk rock tribute tunes, but Hudson’s treatment of “Up on Cripple Creek” is one that commands attention.

The jazz group is comprised of drummer, Jack DeJohnette, guitarist, John Scofield, keyboardist, John Medeski, and bassist, Larry Grenadier. For longtime jazz fans, the names are familiar. DeJohnette and Scofield might be best known for their work with Miles Davis. The members bring a formidable amount of talent to their current project.

Soundscape of “Up on Cripple Creek”

The original is a rock song with folk elements. The singing details an accommodating significant other. The soundscape is not hard-edged, but it is rollicking, and to be true to that original sound, tributes must capture that same energy.

The original gets a great deal of its texture from the interplay of both instruments and lead and backing vocals. Hudson’s version uses keyboards to make the vocals, and the guitar and bass use slight variations on the original to make a soundscape appropriate for jazz.

A sort of jazz fusion sound is produced here. Hudson contains the elements necessary for a rock band, really, so it is not much of a stretch to take a song like “Up on Cripple Creek” and turn it into jazz. The biggest differences are found in the vocals and the keyboards. Hudson’s version contains passages with flourish that help make the song different from the original.

Regardless of what audiences might think of the original, Hudson’s version of “Up on Cripple Creek” is fun. At first, listeners might question how close to the original Hudson’s version is to the original. But as audiences pay attention to the details Hudson imbues their work with, they appreciate what the tribute version has to offer.

On their self-titled debut album, Hudson tries their hand at covering other popular classics. The group’s combined talent works to make the members masterful interpreters of different kinds of songs.



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