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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Capri 74097-2



1. You Make Me Feel So Young
2. Midnight Sun
3. Symbiosis
4. Fascinating Rhythm
5. Blues for Junior
6. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
7. Samba de Martelo
8. Blues in the Night
9. The Serpent's Tooth

Jeff Hamilton - Drums
Tamir Hendelman - Piano
Christoph Luty - Bass


Drummer Jeff Hamilton has played in piano trios led by the likes of Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander and Ray Brown, but here he leads his own trio. They have been playing together for several years and they are all members of the band co-led by Hamilton with John Clayton. As the leader of the trio, Jeff Hamilton might be expected to take a lot of the limelight, but in fact he stays in the background for much of the time. The result is a piano trio which closely resembles other famous piano trios like those of Oscar Peterson, with the pianist assuming prominence and the drummer being allowed only a few moments of glory.

This isn't to imply that Jeff Hamilton is not an integral member of the group. He simply keeps his light under a bushel and doesn't monopolise the CD. The result is virtually a conventional piano trio album, with a mixture of well-chosen jazz standards and lesser-known tunes like Claus Ogerman's title-track and one original - Samba de Martelo by Jeff Hamilton.

Jeff ensures that the music swings strongly, and the trio breathes new life into old songs like Fascinating Rhythm (note Jeff's subtle use of brushes and the driving rhythm he sets up with bassist Christoph Luty) and Midnight Sun - a gorgeous tune which ought to be heard more often. On the latter, Hamilton provides rhythm by playing the drums with his hands instead of sticks.

Jeff stays in the background for the title-track but he gets a solo with brushes on the dynamic Fascinating Rhythm. The trio lopes along in relaxed style on Ray Brown's Blues for Junior. Tamir Hendelman's piano solo here is very reminiscent of Oscar Peterson, while Christoph Luty's walking bass does Ray Brown proud.

Luty introduces Polka Dots and Moonbeams with an arco statement before Hendelman plays and develops the tune with deep sensitivity. Hamilton does a lot of soloing on his own Samba de Martelo, clearly reveling in the Latin rhythm.

Blues in the Night features the bassist, who states the melody with his bow and then solos in the same way, ending with a long, flowery coda. Miles Davis's The Serpent's Tooth opens with a muscular solo from Jeff Hamilton. It is a speedy flagwaver, with a half-tempo middle eight and an accelerating last eight bars - but only in the first and last choruses. Jeff gets a chance to show off at the drums, which he does with aplomb.

Drummers, pianists and bassists may be different animals but symbiosis means different organisms living together for their mutual benefit. Listeners can certainly benefit from the symbiosis between these three top-class musicians.

Tony Augarde 

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