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12,393 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 112 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (Jan. 23).

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Nick Hempton Band live streaming from GB's Juke Joint, NYC - Dec. 28

Nick Hempton (alto/tenor sax); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Kyle Koehler (Hammond B3); Fukushi Tainaka (drums)
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(Screenshots by Russell)

An absolute gem of a session. GB's Juke Joint isn't, as the name might imply, a neighbourhood bar populated by low-lifes and ne'er-do-wells but a New York recording studio where Nick Hempton recorded Night Owl - reviewed here last year -  and which provided some of the material played  tonight.

The opener, Back on the Dole Again, got things moving with a nice groove. All four guys at the top of their game. Interestingly, I always thought that being "on the dole" was a purely British expression. Whatever, certainly an appropriate title for today.

Cold Call again had that post bop feel to it. It is just so delightful to hear relatively straight ahead jazz as opposed to some of the sounds of today that sail under the J flag

On the album, It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream was played beautifully and that performance was matched tonight. On alto or tenor Hempton has the sound  and the technique to go with it as he proved on Short Shrift where his fingers danced on the keys like the feet of a latter-day Astaire. I particularly liked the half-time ending, a ploy that is seemingly forgotten these days but very effective when applied sparingly.

10th St. Turnaround, also from Night Owls, is a swinger. The title itself brings to mind Hamp's Central Avenue Breakdown. Hemp's tune is in that league. 

There can be few more versatile guitarists than Bernstein he can duke it out with the best in any style and tonight his jazz chops were exquisitely displayed.

The evening was rounded off with the title track of the album. Koehler, masked and hatted, looked cool but the fire that burst from the B3 was like Vesuvius erupting. Tainaka had been relatively laid-back but when the chips were down he too kicked ass.

The band have a new album out in the spring but, in the meantime, you'll not go far wrong with Night Owls.

Lance 

6 comments :

Patti said...

This was a real laidback barnstormer session - and didn't we do well to stay up late to watch it, streamed from GB's Juke Joint in Queens, NYC! Nick Hempton has a wonderful, fat tone on the tenor - it's a Conn 10M apparently, a vintage 1946 model - I think Coleman Hawkins favoured this one. The whole band sound was funky and grooving - a real treat - I'm going to get a copy of that Night Owl CD for sure.

Russell said...

And thanks to Roly Veitch who knows about these things, Peter Bernstein's beautiful guitar was made by luthier John Zeidler - - a rare and highly prized instrument.

Patti said...

Out of interest, I read more about Hawk's favourite saxes throughout his career - he played Conns mainly in the 1920's, but by the 40's he was playing the Selmer Balanced Action model, after he was presented with one by Selmer, on a visit to Paris in the 1930's. Maybe the Conn 10M that Nick played so beautifully was favoured by another sax titan of the period, Chu Berry - who also played tenor like 'an elephant in silk pyjamas' .......

Lance said...

I had a Selmer Balanced Action tenor which I "upgraded" for a Selmer Mark VII. The Balanced Action was the better instrument.

Rumour has it that Ronnie Scott was given a Mark VII by Selmer and he gave them it back preferring his Mark VI!

Nick said...

Chu even has a Conn model named after him! My hero on the 10M was Dexter Gordon. He played his until it was lost or stolen in the mid 60s. He switched to a Selmer Mkvi which I believe was bought for him by Ben Webster... Anyway I found mine in the basement of a New Jersey music store where it had lived for a VERY long time!

Patti said...

Ah - Hawkins, Chu, Dexter, and Ben Webster - all absolute monsters on the tenor ........

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