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Harry Allen / Scott Hamilton: ‘Round Midnight (2012)

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Harry Allen / Scott Hamilton: âRound Midnight How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Johannes Brahms was called "the keeper of the flame" for Beethoven. Tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton
b.1954
sax, tenor
are the same keepers for a tenor tradition that existed from the swing era through hard bop. The pair champions a sound and method established by Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
, Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
and Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone
: a broad, dense tone, both confident and hesitant. Allen and Hamilton highlight a stylistic history that ended in 1956 when Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
recorded "Tenor Madness." This music is romantic, balladic and, when played up-tempo, swinging.

'Round Midnight is a predictable recording, which is exactly perfect because one knows just what to expect from these two and their many recordings for Nagel-Heyer, Arbors Records, Concord and various other labels. It is a collection of nine standards, all having great empathy for one another and a brilliant rhythm section smoothing them out before these two saxophonists. Pianist Rossano Sportiello
Rossano Sportiello
b.1974
piano
must be singled out for attention for his certain and sure guidance of the music. Bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs are solid throughout. Each was afforded solo space that was well used.

No matter the age of the composition, whether 1912's "My Melancholy Baby" or 1958's "Great Scott," Allen and Hamilton swing them with a personal touch and professional ability. The sympatico shared between the two saxophonists is impressive. At once, they are very similar players with very different sounds even within the constraints of the material. Allen's tone is full-bodied and sure, while Hamilton's is a bit breathier, somewhere between Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
and Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
. 'Round Midnight is not another Tenor Madness (Prestige, 1956). It is Tenor Elegance.

Track Listing: My Melancholy Baby; Great Scott; How Am I To Know; The Opener; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Hey Lock; Lover; Flight Of The Foo Birds; 'Round Midnight.

Personnel: Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Scott Hamilton: tenor saxophone; Rossano Sportiello: piano; Joel Forbes: bass; Chuck Riggs: drums.

Record Label: Challenge Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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