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

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Dean Street Nights

Woodville WVCD 141



1. I Just Found Out about Love

2. Sweet and Lovely

3. Jitterbug Waltz

4. If I Had You

5. Zoot’s Blues

6. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

7. Cherokee


Scott Hamilton – Tenor sax

John Pearce – Piano

Dave Green – Double bass

Steve Brown - Drums


Scott Hamilton has perfected an art which, in recent years, seemed in danger of disappearing. This is playing jazz with the emphasis on melody and beauty of sound. No playing a thousand notes a minute; no sheets of sound; no discords for no reason. Like his fellow tenorist Harry Allen, Scott owes quite a lot to the smooth style of Coleman Hawkins which was developed by such graceful saxists as Stan Getz, although Scott - and Harry – are their own men.

Hamilton is an American but he seems to have taken permanent root in Britain. He has appeared with his quartet at the Pizza Express in London’s Dean Street for several residencies every year since the mid-1980s. This album was recorded there on 4 January 2012, with the rhythm section he has worked with since 2000.

The members of the quartet know each other well by now, and they have developed an enviable empathy. Pianist John Pearce, in particular, fits in perfectly with Scott Hamilton’s often unpredictable twists. Dave Green is probably the best bassist in the country, as he proves on this CD – and we get to hear several well-constructed bass solos. Drummer Steve Brown has a masterly technique, although he hasn’t quite mastered the “beauty of sound” mentioned above, as some of his drums sound metallic.

A highlight of the album is Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz, which ends with an unaccompanied sax cadenza that leads into a reprise of the melody and an edge-of-the-seat climax. But every track is worth savouring, with Hamilton’s elegant sax creating new melodies from jazz standards, while three of the best musicians in the business back him up with appropriate accompaniment and interesting solos. Very nice.

Tony Augarde

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