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Hamilton House / Live At Steamers

Jeff Hamilton Trio

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Album Review

Jeff Hamilton demonstrates his versatility and inventiveness on this rare CD as a leader, for the German Mons label. Recorded live at Steamer's in L.A. with his trio, featuring the Oscar Peterson-inspired Larry Fuller on piano and Basie veteran Lynn Seaton on bass, it spotlights Hamilton's talents more intensely than his frequent big band setting. Equally adept at swing, ballads, Latin rhythms, and breakneck tempos, Hamilton is known for combining unusual textures, like hand-drumming, with a uniquely melodic approach. For example, on his own droll "Old Man Fluss" he plays the head of the tune and later creates an affectionate travelogue of his ancestral Scotland — complete with mists and marching clans — on the traditional "Hamilton House." Starting off with Billy Taylor's warm, aptly-titled "Easy Walker," this crack trio has blazing fun with Monk's already-playful "Rythmn-n-ing," where Fuller dazzles with his parallel runs and Hamilton is alternately fiery and tongue-in-cheek. Things get down and funky with "See See Rider" and "Blues for Stephanie," one of two from long-time collaborator John Clayton, with whom Hamilton leads the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the house band for the Hollywood Bowl. On Gilberto Gil's "Eu Vim Da Bahia," Hamilton is a one-man carnaval parade. The joy he takes in playing is best to watch — fortunately, it is clearly audible here. The unhackneyed material includes another Clayton original (the quirky, reggae-flavored "Teef"), some sly Ellington, and some tender Beatles. Well-sequenced and cleanly recorded, this CD offers an adventurous, good-natured spirit not found in most trio dates; it is sure to delight the listener as much as it did those who witnessed its recording.

Biography

Born: 04 August 1953 in Richmond, IN

Genre: Jazz

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

A reliable and versatile drummer who sounds equally at home with a big band or combo, Jeff Hamilton has a strong reputation in the jazz world. He attended Indiana University, in 1974 was with the Tommy Dorsey ghost band, played briefly with Lionel Hampton, and then spent two years as a member of Monty Alexander's Trio (1975-1977). Hamilton was with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1977-1978), became a member of the L.A. Four (with whom he made six records), and started recording regularly as a sideman for...
Full bio
Hamilton House / Live At Steamers, Jeff Hamilton Trio
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