1. Ain't That A Peach
2. Bye Ya
3. On and On
4. Hat's Dance
5. Too Marvellous for Words
7. A Sleepin' Bee
8. Red Sparkle
9. I Know You Oh So Well
10. In an Ellingtone.
Jeff Hamilton - Drums
Tamir Hendelman - Piano
Christoph Luty - Bass
Piano trios are usually led by a pianist but this one is led by a drummer - the experienced Jeff Hamilton. The pianist is Tamir Hendelman, who I have already praised on this website - especially leading his own trio (http://www.musicweb-international.com/jazz/2010/Tamir_Hendelman_RCD1017.htm). With two such able musicians on board, this trio can hardly fail, and it is completed by an excellent bass player in Christoph Luty.
Jeff Hamilton is not backward in coming forward on this CD, making his presence felt with solos on several tracks as well as keeping the rhythm swinging. In fact he introduces the first track with a thunderous phrase on the tomtoms. This tune swings comfortably in a style perfected by the Oscar Peterson Trio - not surprisingly, as Jeff played with Oscar as well as Ray Brown and Monty Alexander.
Thelonious Monk's Bye Ya is given a Latin-American beat, with great brushwork from Hamilton, while he gives On and On a rhythm similar to Ahmad Jamal's Poinciana. Tamir Hendelman sparkles at the piano in Hat's Dance, which he co-wrote with Jeff Hamilton.
The next three tunes are jazz standards. Too Marvellous for Words again contains Jeff's impressive brushwork and a fine drum solo. Tamir caresses Laura tenderly, and Christoph Luty plays some of the melody of A Sleepin' Bee on the double bass and improvises along with Tamir.
Red Sparkle refers to the colour of Jeff Hamilton's first drum kit, and the tune reminds me of some of Monty Alexander's brilliantly rhythmic pieces, driven along by the stimulating drums which provide a sort of seething furnace beneath Hendelman's piano solo. Bassist Ray Brown wrote I Know You Oh So Well, so it is appropriate that it features bassist Christoph Luty, playing both pizzicato and arco. Luty composed the final In an Ellingtone, which has the same loping pulse as In a Mellotone.
It is often said that the Bill Evans Trio introduced the idea of all three members of the group contributing equally. That is certainly the case with this expert, feel-good album.