Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jeff Hamilton Trio: Symbiosis

Capri Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 4.1.10
Buy CD: Symbiosis

Trios usually aren't headed by drummers.

That statement alone indicates how drummers often aren't regarded in the same category as other musicians. An old music joke goes, “How big is your band?”

Answer: “Fifteen musicians and a drummer.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jeff Hamilton is a drummer; he's also a musician and arranger, and leader of this group. He's joined here by pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty. All these gentlemen are excellent, experienced and in-demand artists. Hamilton has worked with Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Diana Krall, and co-leads the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which also features Hendelman and Luty.

This trio has been together for nine years.

Symbiosis blends wonderful oldies (“You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Blues in the Night”) with jazz standards (“Blues for Junior,” “The Serpent's Tooth”) and a Hamilton original (“Samba De Martelo”). The tunes cover the musical waterfront: ballads, blues, bop and bossa nova.

The melodic lines are freshly interpreted; the solos are impressive, and everything swings wonderfully. Hamilton's contribution has a lot to do with that; he's “felt” more than heard. His playing always adds to the sum total, and never interferes with what's going on.

This is a marvelous group.

No comments: