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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Smoke Sessions: A Threesome from Herring, Jackson, & Hazeltine

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With the launch of their own label at the start of 2014, Smoke Jazz Club widened their circle by committing to tape performances by some of New York's finest musicians and dispersing this music via downloads and discs. A decidedly bare bones operation, the in-house production team has done a great job of capturing the ambiance of the room and everything from mastering to graphic design is dedicated to establishing an identity of quality and craftsmanship. Vincent Herring The Uptown Shuffle Smoke Sessions 2013 Following on the heels of their vinyl ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke / David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society 2

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In the last year of the twentieth century, Sharp Nine Records released Mutual Admiration Society, a quartet date co-led by vibraphonist Joe Locke and pianist David Hazeltine, which also included bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Billy Drummond. A brainchild of Sharp Nine honcho Marc Edelman, the collaboration between these two longtime friends was based on a desire to explore each other's strengths. Hazeltine was keen on interacting with the blues-oriented, earthy side of Locke's playing, as well as experiencing the vibraphonist's harmonically adventurous compositions. Locke welcomed the opportunity to interpret Hazeltine's arrangements and play off of the pianist's swinging, individualistic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine Trio: The Jobim Songbook in New York

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On this project, pianist David Hazeltine takes on the music of the late Jobim (who would have turned eighty in 2007) by looking at the music from an American point of view, without the typical bossa nova elements. Most of the music presented here is well-known, from “The Girl from Ipanema to “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (titled “Quiet Nights on the CD), but what Hazeltine does here is augment the classical influence that the songs' writer brought to them. “Jobim borrows from classical sources, Hazeltine comments in the liners. “Studying classical piano opens my mind and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine-George Mraz Trio: Manhattan

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Familiarity is a plus on this 2005 studio session by pianist David Hazeltine with bassist George Mraz and drummer Billy Drummond. Drawing most of their program from familiar standards and popular jazz compositions, the three musicians make each of them sound fresh with their brilliant interplay. The influence of Bill Evans is apparent in Hazeltine's approach to Dave Brubeck's “In Your Own Sweet Way, with Mraz's intricate bass line and Drummond's finesse on the brushes fueling the pianist's solo, though he leaves plenty of room in the spotlight for his partners. The opening rhythm of “Alone Together ...

INTERVIEWS

David Hazeltine: Modern Standards

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David Hazeltine is now, and has been for over a decade, an omni-present force in the New York City straight-ahead jazz scene. Through the years, he's played piano and recorded with masters like Curtis Fuller, Jon Hendricks, Slide Hampton. Now with many recordings as a leader to his credit, he still plays many, many dates throughout the year and is as energetic and enthusiastic about the music as most players half his age (not to say that he's old, by any means).

To some, the concept of his new recording, Modern Standards, may seem a large departure from his earlier ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: Modern Standards

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Modern Standards consists of a diverse collection of songs that were written in the second half of the twentieth century. David Hazeltine's arrangements of material by the Beatles, the Bee Gees, Burt Bacharach, Leonard Bernstein, and others for piano, bass, and drums are as important as the improvisations that follow. Although Hazeltine's holistic treatments evince a genuine respect for the melodies--indeed, the pianist frequently weaves snatches of the themes into his solos--there's something almost subversive about the liberties he takes with the songs' forms.

Hazeltine transforms the Bee Gees' wistful love song “How Deep Is Your Love into a brisk, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

A Pair of Triplets: Piano Trio Summit

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Bet it's being done right now, near you. In an intimate, upscale restaurant, a piano trio, led by the tired cat on the bench, is trying really hard to fuel the “ambiance." And, given this is the domain generally reserved for hacks, odds are it's failing miserably. Not that many of the patrons ever even look up from their steaks long enough to notice. Tragic. But, to the eternal credit of those nameless, time-marking threesomes around the globe, it takes a ton of guts to play piano in a trio in a post-Garner/Evans/Peterson world. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: Manhattan Autumn

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While too many critics continue to carp about the “reactionary ideology of neoconservative hardboppers” I take great pleasure in witnessing the constant development of the demanding art form and the astounding personal growth of the best of idiom’s progressive young players. Pianist David Hazeltine and the members of his excellent quartet, saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth, are unquestionably four of the finest purveyors of the genre, highly respected members of the jazz community whose dues have been paid in full. Their combined unrelenting commitment to the music and their individual devotion to the development of ...

ARTIST PROFILES

David Hazeltine: Making it Mean Something

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'When I was about ten or eleven years old, my mother bought me my first jazz record. It was Jimmy Smith Plays The Standards, and I fell in love with jazz at that point'

Beginnings ...

'At first playing with these people it was just plain scary and intimidating.'

One of the outstanding jazz piano players in the world today, David Hazeltine grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was born 27 October 1958. Early in 2003, shortly before embarking upon a European tour with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: Manhattan Autumn

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It’s always a pleasure to review an album on which tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander is showcased, as I'm pretty sure beforehand that I’ll thoroughly enjoy it. That sense of happy anticipation is appreciably heightened when he’s in the company of such accomplished playmates as leader / pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth, who are among his partners as well in the exciting New York-based co-op sextet, One for All.

Manhattan Autumn is Hazeltine’s sixth album as leader for Sharp Nine, the second on which Alexander has played a leading role (the first was last year’s The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander

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While this is his first meeting with the Classic Trio, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander is no stranger to two of its members, having performed with pianist David Hazeltine in the New York-based co-op sextet One for All and with bassist Peter Washington on Alexander's recent albums, The First Milestone and The Second Milestone, among other dates. Needless to say, Alexander is quite comfortable alongside Hazeltine, Washington and the trio's third member, drummer Louis Hayes, smartly shaping and remodeling the Dexter Gordon / George Coleman-inspired phrases that have made him one of the instrument's rising young stars. Always technically strong, Alexander ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine and the Classic Trio: The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander

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David Hazeltine, I presume...

 

One has to admit that it is a bit presumptive to name a jazz combo the “Classic Trio." There have been many “Classic" piano trios. The ones that quickly spring to mind are Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamel, Ray Brown, Gene Harris, and the list continues. Pianist David Hazeltine has slapped this leaden moniker on himself and his rhythm section of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Louis Hayes. The moniker may not be too far from completely accurate.

The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander marks the third outing of the Classic Trio and the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander

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Audio samples from this mainstream quartet recording are available at David Hazeltine's web site . Straight ahead and always keeping the tradition alive, the pianist's trio complements Eric Alexander and adds sparkling interlude passages of its own. A healthy mix of originals and popular songs gives the session variety. Remember Jimmy Webb's “Didn't We"? Who can forget the lovely ballad that anchored most nightclub sessions some time ago? Hazeltine and Alexander interpret the classic song within the tradition, but with fresh ears. The pianist, in particular, has a pleasant way of pumping up the selection without being forceful. It's a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Hazeltine: The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander

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Honing his skills to such a degree that it all sounds deceptively easy, David Hazeltine’s art is always in danger of being misunderstood because it’s not radically too far to the left or right. In other words, he’s a mainstream player working within the tradition. But you know it seems that these days you have to be weird or young to get any press, so Hazeltine often gets lost in the shuffle. And that’s a shame because if hard bop is your bag, it simply doesn’t get any better than this. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a ...



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