Tuesdays with Ken Hatfield
New York, NY
May 2, 2006
What is fascinating and wonderful for the jazz lover in New York City is that high quality jazz can be found in many unexpected places such as restaurants. While you will not find a Big Band, small acoustic groups abound.
One such venue is Fetch on Third Avenue and 92nd Street in Manhattan's Upper East Side. This is a real neighborhood place, serving good, inexpensive food and drink. The walls are lined with pictures of patron's dogs and it supports a local organization which tries to find homes for abandoned dogs. In other words, the vibes are low key, warm and inviting, and many times you will be seated by owner and executive chef, Adam Powers.
Ken Hatfield and his classical jazz guitar, usually accompanied by Hans Glawischnig on acoustic bass, has been holding court on Tuesday nights for two sets since the beginning of the year. The front of the restaurant is raised a few steps and this area has become increasingly filled by those people looking for some well-played jazz, and perhaps that played by Hatfield in particular.
For those people familiar with Hatfield's recordings such as his latest, String Theory or the earlier The Surrealist Table and Phoenix Rising, will know that Hatfield applies a prodigious classic guitar technique to a highly sophisticated jazz sensibility, spiced with an affinity for Brazilian jazz. He also composes many tunes that range in style from Brazilian to blues based.
A number of guitar players have shown up and just stare. The guitarist in-joke cartoon is one player watching and thinking in the bubble, "I can do that..." Well, not here with Hatfield. Not only does he play outstanding lines (along with a few Hatfield-isms), but he effortlessly supplies a swinging counterpoint, far beyond most, if not all, chord-melody voicings heard elsewhere.
Glawischnig has been Hatfield's playing and recording partner for years and there is no doubt about the degree of musical ESP. His solos are very fluid, and he swings solidly.
So come on down to Fetch some Tuesday, have a cold Guiness (or two), and watch (and hear) a master guitarist at work.