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Multiple Reviews

Music for Guitar: Ken Hatfield & Bill McCormick

By Published: February 20, 2004
Ken Hatfield

The Surrealist Table

Arthur Circle Music

Ken Hatfield is among the few jazz guitarists who ply their trade via the nylon string acoustic guitar. His latest release, The Surrealist Table , is an allusive collection of original compositions that showcases his proficiency both at writing interesting material and applying a somewhat unconventional instrument to the jazz idiom.

The disc's opener, 'The Chimera', turns the standard jazz tune construction around a bit. Bassist Hans Glawischnig takes a frenetic pizzicato solo after the statement of the theme, then Hatfield trades fours with drummer Jeff Hirshfield, after which Hatfield takes his own nimble solo, building a foundation with his single-note lines. Hirshfield's tender brushes highlight the Brazilian-influenced waltz 'A Demain'. Hatfield's solo is fluid and Glawischnig takes another strong plucked turn. 'Mixed Motion' is as varied as its title implies, Monkish in conception and execution, with Hatfield happily skipping along the chord changes. The title track, inspired by a Giacometti drawing, is a mischievous jaunt. Hatfield's tight embroidery and Glawischnig's bowed solo complement each other while Hirshfield brushes the canvas in the background.

The tune that defines the spirit of the entire work, though, is 'Berceuse', a balanced, seamless blend of classical and jazz brimming with influences from Carlos Montoya to Charlie Byrd. Hatfield opens with a moody intro and Glawischnig follows with a mournful but lovely arco solo, with Hirshfield providing highlights on the cymbals. The humorously titled 'Funkissimo' closes things out, with the trio laying down a groove that is a mixture of funk, ragtime and Dixieland.



Personnel: Ken Hatfield, guitar; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Jeff Hirshfield, drums.

Track Listing: 1. The Chimera, 2. ' Demain, 3. Iphigeneia, 4. Mixed Motion, 5. The Surrealist Table, 6. Castalia, 7. Berceuse, 8. Most Every Day, 9. Ariadne's Thread, 10. Funkissimo

Visit Ken Hatfield on the web at www.kenhatfield.com .


Bill McCormick

Music for Guitar

BM

Hatfield is among the four guitarists, and percussionist, assembled by composer Bill McCormick for his new disc Music For Guitar , a selection of pieces culled from his substantial portfolio. The songs are like a collection of snapshots (one of them, 'Accompaniment Study - Suspended Fourths', clocks in at a laconic 41 seconds), and while they're short, they're also quite effective.

'Night Dream/Summer/Into Trees' is played with tender contemplation by Craig Wagner. 'The Nights Get So Cool Here', a languid slice of Brazil, is breezily interpreted by Hatfield and features outstanding percussion by Steven Kroon. Jon Damian applies the proper humor to 'I Play Rhythm', McCormick's riff on Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm', while Pete Smith expands on the same rhythmic theme with his bouncy 'Riff Major/Riff Minor'.

Wagner plays 'Blues 2050' with moody lyricism and touches it up with flamenco elements. 'The Seacost Drive' is another South American excursion rendered wonderfully by Hatfield and Kroon, especially the evocation of waves against the shore. Wagner plays with samba soul on another Latin standout, 'Majestic World', which features more outstanding variegated percussion by Kroon. Wagner also goes down to the Delta on 'A Church Named the Blues', a piece evoking the rhythm of going to services on Sunday morn. The conciseness with which McCormick writes challenges the players to state their cases quickly and clearly, and this fine disc is proof of their eloquence.

Personnel: Jon Damian, Ken Hatfield, Pete Smith and Craig Wagner.

Track Listing: 1. Night Dream/Summer/Into Trees, 2. The Nights Get So Cool Here, 3. I Play Rhythm, 4. Riff Major/Riff Minor, 5. Accompaniment Study-Suspended Fourths, 6. Blues 2050, 7. The Seacoast Drive, 8. Reflection #7, 9. Reflection #1, 10. Reflection #2, 11. A Church Named The Blues, 12. Majestic World, 13. Reflection #8 (We'll be Pulling into Town Around 3 a.m.)

Listen to sound samples of Music for Guitar at CD Baby .



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