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Jazz Signatures

Scott Hamilton

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Album Review

Scott Hamilton has never been an innovator, but he has certainly been consistent. "Groundbreaking" isn't a word you will ever hear in connection with the breathy tenor man, who has excelled by sticking with the type of 1940s-minded jazz that he's known for. Although recorded in 2000, Jazz Signatures never loses its swing-to-bop mindset. Joined by pianist John Bunch, bassist Dave Green, and drummer Steve Brown, Hamilton has one foot in small-group swing and the other in early bebop and, true to form, he is as expressive on medium-tempo and fast numbers (Billy Strayhorn's "Raincheck," Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz") as he is on ballads (Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now"). Some of the songs have been recorded countless times — Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" certainly fits that description — but Hamilton also unearths some neglected jewels, including Don Byas' "Byas a Drink" (a variation on Benny Goodman's "Stomping at the Savoy") and the gorgeous Hank Jones ballad "Angel Face." Jazz Signatures falls short of essential; it's solid and consistently rewarding, but then, the New Englander recorded a lot of equally rewarding albums in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Nonetheless, Hamilton's hardcore fans will find a lot to admire about this CD.

Biography

Born: 12 September 1954 in Providence, RI

Genre: Jazz

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

When Scott Hamilton appeared in the mid-'70s fully formed with an appealing swing style on tenor (mixing together Zoot Sims and Ben Webster), he caused a minor sensation, for few other young players during the fusion era were exploring pre-bop jazz at his high level. He began playing when he was 16 and developed quickly, moving to New York in 1976. Hamilton played with Benny Goodman in the late '70s, but he has mostly performed as a leader, sometimes sharing the spotlight with Warren Vache, Ruby...
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