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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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, ...read more
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. ...read more