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The Inspiration Suite

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Album Review

Jazz pianist David Hazeltine, like many baby-boomer musicians, is influenced by Wes, Buddy, and Monk Montgomery and Cedar Walton. For what he calls his most personally driven recording date, he pays tribute to them by composing a four-part suite inspired by their sounds. Hazeltine and his quintet — which includes the formidable vibraphonist Joe Locke and longtime collaborator tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander — give alms with some well-conceived and executed modern mainstream jazz. The suite begins as a neo-bop cadence buoys a splattering of several Cedar-flavored motifs, two-note accents, and piano-bass unison lines for "Motivation." "Reverence" has Locke's vibes shimmering on a low and slow Latin-shaded piece, followed by another bright neo-bop melody, "Insight," and the finale is a 6/8 composition, "Gratitude," that could have easily fit into the repertoire of Walton and Bobby Hutcherson's Timeless All Stars book. Of the five stand-alone tracks, two are covers left until the end of the CD — Walton's much lesser-known "Shoulders" is as straight-ahead as jazz gets, while Buddy Montgomery's "Personage of Wes" is a kinetic, uppity sizzler. A newly arranged complex and arresting intro is tacked onto the standard "I Should Care," and Hazeltine's original "Don't Walk Away" is treated in a Latin fashion, occasional percussionist Daniel Sadownick adding the spice, but again settles in the modern mainstream. Hazeltine has not put out the full-force blockbuster breakthrough recording his clear talent indicates, but this one ranks with his many best efforts. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 27 October 1958 in Milwaukee, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jazz pianist David Hazeltine was born and raised in Milwaukee, making his professional debut at age 13 and going on to gig extensively in Chicago and Minneapolis as well. Serving as the house pianist at the Milwaukee Jazz Gallery, he backed luminaries including Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt and Chet Baker, the latter encouraging Hazeltine to further pursue his career by relocating to New York City; arriving there in 1992, he formed his own trio with drummer Louis Hayes and bassist Peter Washington, additionally...
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The Inspiration Suite, David Hazeltine
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