Friday, May 17, 2013

Graham Dechter: Taking' It There

Capri Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Takin' It There

This album, the second released by Graham Dechter and the Jeff Hamilton Trio, is every bit as great as the first, Right on Time.

What makes this group so good? Well, all the musicians are members of the famous Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO), one of best big bands active today. Bassist John Clayton, his brother Jeff — who plays alto sax and flute — and drummer Jeff Hamilton formed the CHJO in 1985, and that group has remained at the top of the jazz world ever since. That big band, and combos composed of CHJO members, have delivered numerous releases that help keep jazz alive.

Hamilton and John Clayton are the “elder” members of this quartet; Israeli-born Tamir Hendelmen is in mid-career; and Graham Dechter, in his 20s, is the youngest. All four are musician’s musicians, and they’re also composers, arrangers and teachers. Each had college/university training and experience in both the classical and jazz genres, and each is an in-demand accompanist for famed vocalists. And that’s always an excellent indicator of skill and taste.

This session’s 10 tracks cover a broad musical spectrum. Half were written by other guitarists, including Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song,” Barney Kessel’s “Be Deedle, Dee Do.” Two are Dechter originals, and you’ll also hear lovely covers of two standards: Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and Arlen/Mercer’s “Come Rain or Come Shine.” 

The operative descriptor? Everything swings like crazy! In my mind, the only thing better than a classic jazz trio is the quartet obtained a guitar is added; that instrument contributes a tremendous drive to the unit.

Let’s have more great jazz from these guys!

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