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JEFF HAMILTON TRIO

Live from San Pedro

CAPRI 74147-2 [53:56]

 

 

Tamir Hendelman (piano): Christoph Luty (bass): Jeff Hamilton (drums)

Recorded Jan 2017, Alvas Showroom, San Pedro, CA

Sybilleís Day

Poinciana

Hammerís Tones

I Have Dreamed

In Walked Bud

Ginaís Groove

Brush This

Bennissimo

Gary, Indiana

Hoosier Friend

Jeff Hamilton, who has steered the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for three decades and has held stints as drummer for such minor outfits as the bands of Count Basie and Woody Herman, has long been immersed in the trio format. Indeed, this particular trio has survived and flourished for 17 years, with Israeli-born pianist Tamir Hendelman and outstanding bassist Christoph Luty on board. This latest album was recorded live at Alvas Showroom, San Pedro, CA and is a righteous swinger, full of the democratic unity conferred by the piano trio format at its finest.

The date gets off to a finger-clicking start with Sybilleís Day one of those instrumentals that sounds like itís a transcription of a song; in fact, it was a commission from a friend for his wife. The result is full of zest and joie de vivre. (And someone should write lyrics.) Those with long memories might recall Ė but if they canít Hamilton reminds us in his notes Ė that Poinciana appeared on the trioís first disc back in 2000. Here it is again but here its acknowledged debt to the classic Ahmad Jamal trio is even more personal and marked. Its Latin vibe and excellent sonorities are vividly conveyed. Hamiltonís effortless skill with brushes can be savoured on Hammerís Tones, a piece written by Hamiltonís friend, the late George Robert, whilst another facet of the band can be enjoyed in Rogers and Hammersteinís lovely I Have Dreamed and that is the eloquently romantic arco solo from Luty. Hendelmanís ensuing tracery is subtly buttressed by Hamiltonís fills and coloration.

Naturally the pianist has primary opportunities in Monkís In Walked Bud and proves fully in command of its harmonic and rhythmic complexities. There are two pieces from Hamiltonís co-leader in his big band, in the shape of John Claytonís Ginaís Groove and Brush This. The first, named for Claytonís daughter Ė and Hamiltonís God-daughter Ė is a tight, hard swinger, full of liveliness and funky style. The second, often aired in the big band, suffers no reduction in appeal in this trio arrangement. The piano line is resonant and powerful, with strong chording and hints of Oscar Peterson along the way. Another piece also present on that first trio album in 2000 was the pianistís composition Bennissimo, written for Benny Green, and here one senses the pianist is doffing at least a quarter of his hat to Ray Bryantís Cubano addictions, though Hendelman is a more florid and fulsome stylist. Meredith Wilsonís Gary, Indiana is a fine vehicle for the trio Ė sprightly, taut, catchy Ė before the closer, a deft version of fellow drummer Joe LaBarberaís Hoosier Friend.

It ends a straight-ahead album that repays listening; arrangements are tasteful and swinging, song selection is perceptive, and there is a just balance between standards and originals. Whether in ensemble or solo thereís always something vivid and exciting to hear.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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