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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

CD/LP Review: Scott Hamilton Quartet - Danish Ballads & More

Scott Hamilton (tenor sax); Jan Lundgren (piano); Hans Backenroth (bass); Kristian Leth (drums).
(Review by Lance).

In many ways, Scott Hamilton is everything a jazz musician should be and, in 2019, shouldn't be. Today, jazz musicians have graduated from colleges with degrees and diplomas, become educators at the very institutions they graduated from and play only their own compositions.

Hamilton is a throwback inasmuch as his formal tuition comprised some childhood clarinet lessons and little else. The rest was up to him and a pair of lugs (ears) that quickly attuned themselves to a melodic phrase or a pleasing chord progression. I've been fortunate to hear him live on several occasions and he's never disappointed me and nor does he fall short here.

Recorded in Copenhagen with a top-notch Danish rhythm section, most of the tunes are by Danish composers or have Danish affiliations. Some are traditional Danish melodies that lend themselves naturally to the American tenor saxist's lyricism. A sound that's marginally nearer to Lester than Hawkins the ideas flow with the smoothness only a master musician can achieve.

On a Saturday Night personifies the art of ballad playing. A traditional folk-tune dating back to 1847, Hamilton plays it as a  duet with pianist Lundgren and turns it into an even greater thing of beauty. Take it Easy, written by Danish pianist-composer Leo Mathiesen (1906-1968) is everything the title implies - a relaxed sense of swing - and all four hit just such a groove. Montmartre Blues is one of two compositions by Oscar Pettiford who lived as an expat in Copenhagen for a number of years. Classic 12 bar featuring, as befits a Pettiford composition, bassist Backenroth.

More Danish/bass influenced music with My Little Anna composed by the late Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen who at one time, unlike a certain lager, was probably the best bassist in the world. I could go on forever about this album it's a gem the like of which we usually only encounter in reissues these days.
Lance


Available June 28 on Stunt Records STUCD 18102 or STULP 18101.

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