A Splendid Trio
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Scott Hamilton, Howard Alden, and Frank Tate have a lot in common, in addition to each of them having worked with the late cornetist Ruby Braff on number of record dates and concerts. All three of them have vast repertoires of standards and jazz works, while they all keep the melody within reach when constructing their superb solos. The lack of piano is never an issue, as Alden's adept use of his seven-string electric guitar enables him to add depth to his playing, while Hamilton's big swinging tone is a throwback to the heyday of Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster. The trio members show they mean business with the energetic treatment of the old warhorse "There'll Be Some Changes Made," featuring intricate interwoven lines and top-drawer solos. Their lyrical setting of Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" is an intimate swinger that captures the nuances of Ellington suggested by the pianist in this timeless piece. They rework the Billy Strayhorn gem "Upper Manhattan Medical Group" as a breezy bossa nova, while the late Flip Phillips ballad "With Someone New" is a lush duet for tenor sax and guitar, with Hamilton's breathy vibrato beautifully complemented by Alden's subtle playing. "Indian Summer" is another old chestnut that still stimulates great jazz performances, with potent solos all around and an extended feature for Tate. The title A Splendid Trio is very much truth in advertising for this rewarding CD.
Born: 12 September 1954 in Providence, RI
Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s
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