Scott Hamilton – Tenor Sax
John Pearce – Piano
Dave Green – Bass
Steve Brown – Drums
When Scott Hamilton hit the jazz scene in the
mid 70’s at the age of 22, he found himself to be very much
adrift from the jazz trends of the time. To gain acceptance,
you had to be into jazz-rock or on a contemporary kick. The
market for the genuine jazz product had all but disappeared.
Fortunately for all of us, he was determined
to go on playing the music he liked, his style a blend of Coleman
Hawkins, Ben Webster, Don Byas, Lucky Thomson, Wardell Gray
and many more. His break came when trumpeter Roy Eldridge invited
him to come to New York, a job with the Benny Goodman Band followed.
Once they sat down and listened, it was just amazing how many
people preferred Hamilton’s melodic jazz to the over hyped,
so-called contemporary jazz they had been listening to. Strange,
but it is just even more true today, we now have a generation
of jazz musicians, who couldn’t play a ‘straight ahead’ standards
set to save their lives!
‘Live in London’ finds Hamilton in excellent
company, Dave Green is a world class bass player and in John
Pearce and Steve Brown, he has sympathetic musicians who are
playing for the band and not just for themselves. The choice
of programme is also excellent Tad Dameron’s The Squirrel is
not heard often enough and it demonstrates Scott Hamilton’s
more than adequate technique. In When Your Lover Has Gone we
hear some wonderful piano from John Pearce and some lovely smoky
lower register sounds from Scott. When I fall in Love has a
dreamy romantic quality and we hear subtle, breathy saxophone
playing, a theme which is carried later on into When You Wish
Upon a Star.
Licks is a Dave Green composition, but it is
more than just a bass feature, it is reminiscent of the records
Oscar Pettiford and Lucky Thomson made together in the mid 50’s.
Easter Parade demonstrates the quartets’ ability to swing on
any tune, although this one could hardly be called jazz standard,
they make it sound like it was meant for improvisation. Another
influence on Scott Hamilton was Al Cohn, himself a fine tenor
sax player, arranger and composer. There can be no doubt that
everybody concerned enjoyed this one, it bounds along.
Whatever your taste in jazz I recommend this
record to you without reservation it is a wonderful example
of melodic jazz, played by master craftsmen. You can hear every
chord change, feel the emotions of the musicians as the tunes
are played and most of all you can understand and enjoy real
Another Scott Hamilton record you should not
be without is At Last with pianist Gene Harris –Concord CCD