So, just who is the Odd Man Out? It's not exactly one of the great enigmas of modern times, but it's something to ponder. Not for too long, though, for time will be much better spent enjoying the music. Odd Man Out is the third album from saxophonist Nick Hempton and his band and it represents a notable step forward for what was already an impressive and hugely enjoyable ensemble.So what's changed since Hempton's second album The Business (Posi-Tone Records, 2011)? In many ways it's business as usual on Odd Man Out: same label, same band, same straight-ahead, ...read more
The Business (Positone, 2011) is a milestone in the career of Nick Hempton. Since arriving in the USA from his native Australia in 2004, the 35-year-old saxophonist, composer, and bandleader has slowly but surely worked his way up the ladder of the notoriously competitive New York City jazz scene. Hempton's second date as a leader is a testament to his talent, dedication, hard work, and to a willingness not to take himself too seriously. The disc is distinguished by an unusually cohesive band of strong-minded individuals, compositions by Hempton that sound genuinely original even as they stay within the broad ...read more
On his self-produced debut, Nick Hempton Band (2009), saxophonist Nick Hempton showed a deft sense of humor through his liner notes. No witticisms mark the release of The Business, but another factor that was evident on the first manifests itself all over again: Hempton is a saxophonist of class.read more
Saxophonist Nick Hempton's decision to call his second album The Business might be a comment on the commercial nature of jazz, or it might be a rather hubristic statement about the nature of his own music. Big, fat grooves, a real sense of swing, strong melodies and even stronger rhythms suggest that Hempton is right to name this album The Business on both counts: because this is a high-quality collection of straight-ahead jazz with an immediate accessibility. Hempton, originally from Australia and now resident in New York, formed his band in 2005. The quartet appeared on his ...read more
The workaday details of the business world don't really relate to jazz very much. Boring meetings, piles of paperwork, and endless conference calls have little to do with the in-the-moment magic that surrounds this music, but that doesn't mean that jazz musicians don't know how to get down to business when the tape is rolling. For his Posi-Tone debut, saxophonist Nick Hempton brought his working band back into the studio, and they dive right into the music from the get-go. Hempton immediately establishes himself as a saxophonist with a bold voice, capable of comfortably moving from Brazilian ...read more
After a few years of knocking about in New York City's jazz underground, the Nick Hempton Band is getting a toehold in venues like Smalls, Zinc Bar, and Fat Cat. Hempton's satirical account of the rigors of a combined eight hours of work in a single month" is posted on the band's website in an entry dated 6/9/09. Throughout a self-titled debut recording, they're an unusually sharp, cohesive unit. Stylistically speaking, Hempton and his cohorts operate in the bop-to-hard bop continuum, with an emphasis on deft swing, percolating Latin rhythms and, in a cover of Joe Henderson's Serenity," a touch ...read more
Alto saxophonist Nick Hempton is a funny man. Though not discernable from the picture on the cover of his debut, Nick Hempton Band, his liner notes tell all. Australia-born Hempton landed in New York in the winter of 2004, with the aim of putting a band together. The first pick was easy; he already knew drummer Dan Aran. But Hempton needed to do more than march to the beat of his own drummer. His search continued and he came upon bassist Marco Panascia, who fit into his scheme of things. Fate continued to be kind and pianist ...read more
Nick Hempton. The name even sounds old school, doesn't it? From the opening notes of the alto saxophonist's debut, Nick Hempton Band, it is clear that Hempton and his quartet are after that old Blue Note feel and sound. And, for the most part, they succeed. This is a turn-back-the-clock, no-holds-barred blowing session. And what's more, it's obvious that these cats can play.But the similarities to 1950s and '60s Blue Note end with the music. What make this band unique are the diverse backgrounds of the musicians. Hempton hails from Australia, drummer Dan Aran is Israeli and bassist ...read more
In 2005, Australian-born alto saxophonist Nick Hempton assembled a group of players to launch an assault on the Big Apple's vibrant jazz scene. His quartet--with musicians from around the globe including Israeli drummer Dan Aran, Sicilian-born bassist Marco Panascia, and pianist Art Hirahara (the only naturally-born American in the group, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area)--has been performing at jazz venues in the New York area ever since. The quartet's self-titled debut contains intelligent renditions of three familiar standards and five originals from Hempton, delivered in a modern/mainstream style that's quite inviting.
Opening up with Hempton's Get ...read more
What happens when you put a drummer from Israel, a bassist from Italy, a Japanese-American pianist from Northern California and a saxophonist from Australia all on one recording? An amalgamation of sound, tempered by richly cultured yet solitary experiences, that amounts to the auditory equivalent of life in New York City. On the self-titled debut release of the Nick Hempton Band, saxophonist/composer/arranger Hempton leads his international tour de force on eight mostly original tracks. The disc opens with Hempton wailing out a few bars reminiscent of John Coltrane on A Love Supreme (Impulse, 1964), while the rest ...read more
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