Monday, February 15, 2016

Jeff Hamilton and Scott Hamilton: Live in Bern

Capri Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Live in Bern

Scott and Jeff aren’t related, except by a love of jazz and stellar abilities on their instruments of choice: Scott on the tenor sax, and Jeff on the drums.  They were born within a year of each other, Scott in 1954 and Jeff in ’53, during the latter stages of the swing era, and the early years of the bop revolution. Both worked with icons during their formative years: Benny Goodman for Scott, and Lionel Hampton and the Tommy Dorsey “ghost band” for Jeff.

Scott has been compared to Stan Getz and Zoot Sims but, as time has passed, has developed  a sound of his own: smooth, uncluttered, beautifully toned and always swinging. Most of his time is spent living and touring outside the United States.

Jeff is in demand by all sorts of A-list artists, both instrumentalists and vocalists. I’ve never heard a record of his that wasn’t top-drawer.

This release marks their first time together. Because both work constantly, and were scheduled to perform at the International Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland, they met there and made this album.

Scott joins Jeff’s trio in a sumptuous menu of tunes from the Great American Songbook, along with some jazz classics.  The lineup includes “September in the Rain,” “Watch What Happens,” “You and the Night and the Music,” Mal Waldren’s “Soul Eyes,” Benny Carter’s “Key Largo” and Billy Strayhorn’s “Ballad for the Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus Eaters.” Jeff Hamilton also features an original, “Sybille’s Day.” All are great tunes, and all handled superbly, as evidenced by the fact that the combo recorded everything in a single session.

The result? This is a marvelous, swinging album. The band also features Tamir Hendelman on piano, and Christoph Luty on bass, both on a grooving par with the two Hamiltons.

What’s not to like?

No comments: