Chico Hamilton: The Original Chico Hamilton Quintet Complete Studio Recordings (2006)
The music is more conventional than the lineup suggests. The cello acts as a frontline instrument together with the reeds; the guitar leads the rhythm section on some of the tracks and joins the frontline on the others. Imagine 19th Century European Romantic music infused with a strong dose of the blues and you can get a pretty good idea about this music. Of course no description can replace actually hearing it.
Needless to say, all of the musicians excel on their respective instruments, and it's a joy to hear them solo. Chico Hamilton plays the drums in his unique manner, coaxing melodies and complex rhythms out of them. The drum solo on the last track with the Gerry Mulligan quartet is mellifluous and extremely infectious.
The music on this disc has the relaxed feeling of a Saturday night at home, but that does not mean it is boring. It is varied and exciting and holds one's interest from the first track to the last. These recordings have not changed the course of modern music like Kind Of Blue or A Love Supreme, but they are still fresh fifty years later and further testament to the universality of jazz as a music and as an art form.
Track Listing: A Nice Day; My Funny Valentine; Blue Sands; The Sage; The Morning After; Jonalah; Chrissie; The Wind; Gone Lover; The Ghost; I Want To Be Happy; Spectacular; Free From; Walking Carson Blues; Buddy Boo; Stella By Starlight; A Bark For Barksdale.
Personnel: Chico Hamilton: drums; Buddy Collette: reeds; Jim Hall: guitar; Fred Katz: cello; Carson Smith: bass; Gerry Mulligan: baritone saxophone; Jon Eardley: trumpet; Red Mitchell: bass.
Record Label: Lone Hill Jazz