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Sound Tracks

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Album Review

For the double disc Sound Tracks, Patrick Hazell has focused on an improvisational jazz format. Armed with his neck harmonica holder and a grand piano, Hazell treats the listener to two hours of captivating music on a 22-track, all-original compilation. The 1916 Hazelton Brothers grand piano that Hazell uses is specially tuned to match the tuning of his Hohner Marine Band harmonicas. Hazell plays both instruments with an intense passion, which assists him in accomplishing his mission of presenting hearty original textured compositions. While "Reflections in Blue" features a rootsy improvisational jazz quality with expertly crafted piano riffs and steady harmonica played with emotional strength, "Bluesintegration" has a piano sound in a Thelonius Monk vein and a harmonica sound with a unique improvisational essence not unlike Walter Holden. Other songs from the album explore a jazz style with a more prominent blues presence, adding variety and a bit of spice to the contents. The second disc from the compilation appears more focused on the roots blues style, unlike the first disc with its stronger jazz focus. The songs with strong blues elements include "Bohemian Blues," which features intense, steady-rolling bass and melodic high piano phrases, and "Reeding the Blues," with its hearty roots blues quality in the piano parts and its harmonica riffs — running the entire spectrum from the high to low range and played with lungs of steel. These are some of the meatier presentations, but all of the compositions from the album are certainly hearty enough to please the improvisational jazz and blues lover. Exploring an area that few have tapped, Patrick Hazell has expertly put together an entertaining and infectious package in this double-disc presentation of improvisations on piano and harmonica.

Biography

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Patrick Hazell is a white, one-man band (piano, neck rack harmonica, and drums) from Washington, IA. But skin color and point of origin hardly matter, as Hazell sounds like a complete throwback to the recordings of the late '40s and early '50s. His rhythmic drive is superlative while his sound and style are highly reminiscent of Memphis one-man-band star Joe Hill Louis. His raspy harp and vocals (sung into the same distorted microphone he plays through) are fortified with strong material, an unrelenting...
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Sound Tracks, Patrick Hazell
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