Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ken Hatfield and Friends: To Be Continued

M/Pub Music
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 2.5.09
Buy CD: To Be Continued

The quintet featured here showcases the music of Bill McCormick, a former student of Boston's Berklee School of Music. McCormick's career as a guitarist was cut short by a debilitating shoulder injury but, after almost a decade of inactivity, he began writing again; he subsequently published a catalogue of books dealing with the guitar.

Ultimately, he formed a quintet for the purpose of presenting his compositions to the public; the success of his first CD, Music for Guitar, Volume 1, led to this album.

McCormick's guitar prowess is heard briefly on this CD, but the primary artist is Ken Hatfield, a leading proponent of the nylon-string (“classical”) instrument.

He's joined by Jim Clouse on soprano and tenor saxes, Hans Glawischnig on bass, Dan Weiss on drums, and Steve Kroon on additional percussion instruments.

The eight McCormick compositions include a minor-key blues waltz, “The Spirit of Soul”; a bop-tinged “Movin' To Cool Breeze City”; a tribute to jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, “El Camino Wes”; two works for solo guitar, “Pastorale” and “Mystery Ship”; a salute to the Brazilian genre, “Persistence of Saudade”; and two complex pieces, “Memories of a Dream” “To Be Continued.”

This is truly “arranged” jazz, with semi-classical overtones. The musicians are excellent, and everything is well rehearsed; the result is a lightly swinging album that is perfect for background listening.

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