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



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GRAHAM DECHTER

Right on Time

Capri 74096-2

 

 


1. Low Down
2. Wave
3. The Nearness of You
4. I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues
5. Broadway
6. Right on Time (Db Tune)
7. Squatty Roo
8. With Every Breath I Take
9. Lined with a Groove
10. In a Mellotone

Graham Dechter - Guitar
Tamir Hendelman - Piano
John Clayton - Bass
Jeff Hamilton - Drums

 

When he was only 19, guitarist Graham Dechter was invited by Jeff Hamilton to join the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, becoming its youngest member. This debut album as a leader shows why Dechter was fit to join that great orchestra, having not only played with them but also with such musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Bill Charlap, Wycliffe Gordon and Clark Terry.

Graham Dechter is joined on this CD by three colleagues from the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and the album is a delight from start to finish. Graham is a guitarist who might be categorized as a worthy successor to Wes Montgomery, as his style often resembles Wes, although without so much use of those famous octaves. Dechter has plenty of expertise at his fingertips (literally) and is very ably accompanied by the rhythm section. Jeff Hamilton's drumming adds much to the album's success, with his perfect fills, solos and punctuations, as well as his unfailing swing. John Clayton is a steady bassist and gets a bowed solo in With Every Breath I Take and a swinging outing on In a Mellotone. Pianist Tamir Hendelman is perhaps less well-known but he contributes some radiantly lucid backing, although he might have been allowed more solo space (Dechter takes the lion's share).

What is particularly attractive about this album is the varied repertoire, which retains one's interest not only by the quality of the playing but through the variety of tempos and styles. In addition, most tunes include some finely-judged ensemble passages which help to make this more than a mere blowing session.

The opener - Low Down - displays Graham's affinity with Wes Montgomery at the sort of easily swinging tempo in which Montgomery used to revel. The tempo changes to a bossa nova for Antonio Carlos Jobim's seductive Wave, in which the guitar melody is shadowed by the double bass, which contributes a well-constructed solo. Jeff Hamilton almost makes his drums speak on this one.

The Nearness of You is taken as a placid ballad, which features the guitar and goes into a bouncy double tempo during Graham's solo. Tamir Hendelman adds a piano solo which is all too short. The mood switches again with Duke Ellington's I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues, where Graham plays superbly bluesy guitar, heftily backed by Hamilton's thundering drums. Then it's back to up-tempo swing for Broadway.

Right on Time was written by Graham's father, Brad Dechter, and it's an intriguingly convoluted piece, originally entitled Db Tune. Tamir Hendelman's piano solo is a joy. Squatty Roo is the second of three Ellingtonian compositions on the CD - actually written by Johnny Hodges - and it makes a suitable vehicle for Jeff Hamilton's sure-footed drumming. Hendelman does an impressively fast but secure solo.

After the aforementioned With Every Breath I Take, John Clayton is featured in Lined with a Groove - playing a Ray Brown composition on a double bass which was owned by Ray. The CD closes with one of my favourite pieces of Ellingtonia - In a Mellotone - an ideal vehicle for serene swing, ending an altogether satisfying album, brilliantly recorded.

Tony Augarde



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