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Album Review

Jeff Hamilton's recordings have always been focused as straight-ahead and mainstream as your typical superhighway, with occasional time for rest stops, gassing up, and sleepovers. While always a good listen, Hamilton and his non-stop rotation of up-and-coming pianists and bassists never really pushed the envelope, staying the course set by his mentor, the late, great bassist Ray Brown, and other California-based coolsters. With Symbiosis, though, there's a change in the weather with the addition of extraordinary young talent in pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty. This is not at all to say that Hamilton's music had no fire, guts, or glory, but the difference in internal energy heard on this recording is noticeable. Hamilton is also playing brushes for the most part, instead of sticks, and he proves the finest exponent of that style of jazz performance since Ed Thigpen. There's some truly extraordinary playing going on here, evident right off the bat on a two-fisted, bluesy take of the otherwise corny "You Make Me Feel So Young," where the mellow mood is trumped by some deft key changes and interplay. Their version of the George Gershwin chestnut "Fascinating Rhythm" is loaded with multiple rhythm changes that seem telepathic but in fact are well rehearsed, while a hopped up take on the Miles Davis obscurity "The Serpent's Tooth" is saturated with Hamilton's fills and drum inserts as Hendelman and Luty jam away on the modified melody. The tour de force track is Hamilton's original "Samba De Martelo," as all three musicians take great poetic license and liberties in an amazing discourse that sounds free and improvised like most great jazz should, but is a virtuosic display of calculated, clean, and keen melodic sensibility that leaps out of the speakers — a truly impressive track. Luty likes to bow arco style as on the melody line of "Blues in the Night" or the intro of the light bossa nova version of "Polka Dots & Moonbeams," while Hendelman is not only a marvelous performer and rising jazz star of the piano, but an original thinking man's arranger who puts that stamp on half of the selections. Perhaps Hamilton has led bands as good, but not better than this, showing up in many real and important ways, especially upon repeat listenings. This recording comes heartily recommended, especially for skeptics who think the tried-and-true piano-bass-drums jazz trio has exhausted its possibilities. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

At the top of their collective form

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the Jeff Hamilton Trio last night at Steamers Jazz Club in Fullerton, CA. This trio is outstanding, so clean and bright and they really swing. Each of the three artists here are at the top of their game. Tamir Hendelman is dazzling on piano, such an incredible talent. Christoph Luty's solo on Blues in the Night is pure beauty. Jeff Hamilton's mastery with the brushes carries the music through each track and his bare hand drumming on Samba de Martelo is a real treat. Standout tracks are the standards Midnight Sun, Blues for Junior and Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Don't miss this fantastic release.

Gotta love this trio

If you thought trio jazz had run its course...think again. These three jazz men, each masters of the music, combine to set a new standard...on old standards. The arrangements are wonderful and flowing, and Hamilton's musical drumming is the finest you will likely ever hear. This trio is making history with music that should stand the test if time. The more you listen...the more you will appreciate what you are hearing. This album is an "all play"!


Love the piano playing of Tamir Handelman.

Symbiosis, The Jeff Hamilton Trio
View in iTunes
  • $8.91
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: Sep 22, 2009

Customer Ratings