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Red Sparkle

Jeff Hamilton Trio

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Album Review

Here is the genius of drummer and composer Jeff Hamilton: in the middle of a program that consists almost entirely of standards like "Laura" and "A Sleepin' Bee" and "Too Marvelous for Words," he takes his trio through a seven-minute version of Stephen Bishop's 1970s schlock-pop hit "On and On." And he turns it into a quiet, softly polished gem of a jazz ballad by doing two things: having pianist Tamir Hendelman keep the melodic elaborations minimal (ensuring that the occasional bluesy flourishes will be all the more effective) and playing almost all of his accompaniment on the tom-toms and on the bells of his ride cymbals. It's the drumming that makes the tune, but unless you pay close attention you won't even notice it. That's what a genius drummer does. Hamilton is also a gifted writer, as the thrilling blues-bop excursion "Red Sparkle" demonstrates, and a very fine interpreter of jazz classics. His arrangement of the Ray Brown composition "I Know You Oh So Well" (which features unusually lovely arco bass playing by Christoph Luty) and a hard-swinging version of "Too Marvelous for Words" are both highlights, and his take on Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya" is very interesting: here he simultaneously squares up and dislocates the rhythms of Monk's Carribbean-flavored composition, creating a version that may not be completely successful but is nevertheless lots of fun — and it's always good to hear someone with the confidence to make a Monk tune his own. Fans of contemporary straight-ahead jazz won't be disappointed.

Customer Reviews

Great! Worth it!

Another great album from the trio. Similar to other albums at times but some classics too. Jeff is incredible as always.

Biography

Born: August 4, 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
Red Sparkle, Jeff Hamilton Trio
View In iTunes
  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 26, 2012

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