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  • JoeWhip
    JoeWhip

    More Music For Your Enjoyment

     

     

    image.jpgMy last article, was based, in part, on a Philadelphia theme. I thought I would continue with another themed piece, this time involving my favorite living jazz drummer, Jeff Hamilton. I will include here some favorites culled from his numerous recordings as a leader and there are many, as well as his contributions as a sideman or the recordings of some lesser known but worthy of your attention, jazz artists, such as Pete Malinverni and guitarists Bruce Forman  and  Graham Dechter.


    I first came across Jeff Hamilton when I first heard the fabulous Montreux Alexander album featuring Jeff on drums along with John Clayton on bass and of course Monty Alexander on piano. After a few years touring with Monty, Jeff joined the Ray Brown Trio for several years where he was part of many fabulous recordings with Gene Harris and then Benny Green on piano. I think Jeff has played with just about everyone in jazz. His playing is tight, rhythmic, dynamic and very musical. He has a fairly small drum kit and is not an acrobatic drummer(Buddy Rich comes to mind) but is darn near perfect in all respects. His brush work is sublime. I have picked out a few of his trio recordings as noted below. His trio has changed over the years but all players have been consistently excellent. Tamir Hendelman has been his regular pianist for a good while now and he is sensational in his own right. These recordings are all in redbook resolution and sound superb. Both Mons and Capri records CD seem to excel in sound quality and I have used them as reference material.  The music is dynamic, rhythmic, swinging straight ahead jazz and always a delight for these ears. As tis the season, I have included The trios’s latest recording Merry and Bright. Great treatment of some timeless Christmas classics. Check out Little Drummer Boy. Fabulous sound. You really can’t go wrong with any of these recordings. These and more are available for streaming on Qobuz. 

     

     

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    Click images for Qobuz links

     

     


    218375_c193ea4d4e3146a99eb587056fa0cd14~mv2.jpgNext up is another fabulous record, Reunion, again featuring Bruce Forman on guitar, Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass. The title of this album is apt as it features the same instruments owned and played by the musicians on the classic jazz album The Poll Winners that was recently released remastered on Craft Records and is superb. The Poll Winners was comprised of Barney Kessel on guitar, Shelly Mann on drums and Ray Brown on bass.  It seems that Bruce Forman became the ‘caretaker” of Barney Kessel’s guitar from his estate. In turn Jeff Hamilton was able to secure Shelly Manne’s drum kit and likewise John Clayton, Ray Brown’s bass. Therefore, I believe that Reunion is the first time these three instruments were played together since the last recording of the Poll Winners in I believe in 1959 The results are fantastic. This album has incredible sound, rich, vibrant and dynamic and best of all fun, like the treatment of Love Potion No. 9 that ends the album. I really hadn’t heard the guitar stylings of Bruce Forman before and boy was I impressed. This is top notch straight ahead jazz.


    Next up is a jazz pianist who really deserves a larger following then he has. Pete Malinverni has been recording since the nineties and is based in NYC. I became acquainted with his recordings through recording engineer par excellence Jim Anderson who engineered several of Pete’s records on Reservoir Records after Jim was hired to replace Reservoir’s first engineer, Rudy Van Gelder. As one would expect, the recording quality on those records is wonderful with beautiful piano tone. While Pete has many recordings on that label, I would like to mention two that I view as the best. Those two are The Tempest and Of One Mind featuring his then regular trio mates, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Leroy Williams.  My favorite though of all his recordings in On The Town released this year on the Planet Arts label. It seems Pete along with drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist, Ugonna Okewgo recorded this album at Van Gelder Studio the day after fleshing out the music at a live gig in NYC. The results show off Pete at his finest. He can be very lyrical, romantic even and turn on a dime and be very gritty and aggressive. You never really know where he will take a particular tune and it was a joy to listen to this album, every time really. The sound is excellent, up front and dynamic, although the placement of some of the cymbal hits in the sound field had me shaking my head. If you have never heard of Pete Malinverni, check out these recordings. I think you will be glad you did, although, as always, I do not give out money back guarantees!

     

     

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    Click images for Qobuz links

     

     

     

     

    The final artist I would like to feature here is a 36 year old guitarist, Graham Dechter. He has been a sideman on many  recordings but here I would like to night two of his three recordings as a leader, Right On Time released in 2009 and Major Influence released in 2021 both on the Capri label. Both feature the same backing musicians with Tamir Hendelman on piano joining Jeff Hamilton and John Clayton. Again, as seems to be the case in every Capri Records recording I have heard, the sound is above reproach. Mr. Deckter’s guitar playing just jumps out at you, sounding a bit like Wes Montgomery. Robust and driving. He really has some guitar chops. He is really worth exploring. I can’t wait to see him live one of these days, hopefully backed by this trio. 

     

    I have been fortunate to have enjoyed Jeff Hamilton live numerous times with my favorite trio, John Clayton and Monty Alexander as well as his own trio over the years. Even better, I have been able to chat with him about music as well. He is a wonderful guy and a class act. If you have only heard him with Diana Krall, please check out these recordings and even better, see him and all these wonderful artists live, if you can. 

     

    Click images for Qobuz links

     

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    Thanks for more music @JoeWhip! Listening to Reunion right now. Godo stuff, but as you know, it isn't Japanese, so it already has one strike against it :~)

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    Thankfully, it takes three strikes for an out.

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    2 minutes ago, JoeWhip said:

    Thankfully, it takes three strikes for an out.

    The Phillies would know about that :~)

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    You had to go there didn’t you.

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    "Right On Time" is very nice. Technical chops in a bit way plus the album is beautifully recorded.

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