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Made in Kalamazoo - Trios and Duos

Keith Hall

Label: Zoom Out
Released: 2022
Views: 330

Track Listing

1. Be Curious (For Billy Hart) 2. Douglass King Obama 3. Kzoo Brew 4. The Promise 5. Boiling Pot 6. Coming of Age 7. Creative Force 8. Well of Hope 9. Interlude 10. Mop It Up 11. Sweep 12. Get Up Get Out 13. Dream Sequence 14. Sympathetic Vibrations 15. Lakeside 16. My Man! 17. What You Say 18. Young Man's Game 19. Landscape 20. Thank You, Max


Personnel

Andrew Rathbun
saxophone, tenor

Album Description

Drummer and composer Keith Hall spent nine years on the New York scene and returned to the Midwest where he has been deeply immersed in the Kalamazoo community for some 20 years. After playing with the likes of Wycliffe Gordon, Sir Roland Hanna, Michael Phillip Mossman, New York Voices, Janis Siegel, Luciana Souza, Terrell Stafford and Steve Wilson, Hall now makes his long-awaited debut as a leader. Made in Kalamazoo (Trios and Duos) is a free- wheeling set of high-energy music that is a love letter of sorts to a place Hall appreciates for its vibrant arts community, dynamic industries and vital personal connections. The album documents the drummer ’s most accomplished and compelling playing and writing to date. Roughly 100 miles east of Lake Michigan (across the lake from Chicago), Kalamazoo provided the inspiration for this invigorating summit between Hall and two of the finest collaborators he could ask for:Andrew Rathbun, a fellow jazz studies professor at Western Michigan University and transplanted Kalamazooan himself, on saxophones, bass clarinet and effects; and eminent Detroit-born bassist Robert Hurst III, currently teaching at the University of Michigan. Made in Kalamazoo finds Hall in a few different modalities with the players involved. There are three solo drum features — placed at beginning, middle and end — in which Hall pays homage to the towering role models Billy Hart, Elvin Jones and Max Roach. There are seven tracks with the full trio, including three compelling Hall originals (“Coming of Age,” “Creative Force,” “Well of Hope”) and four tunes that the leader co- composed with Rathbun (“Douglass King Obama,” “Kzoo Brew,” “The Promise,” “Boiling Pot”). And there are 10 spontaneously composed duo tracks for drums and reeds, giving Rathbun creative space to “plug in” at times with signal processing, dirtying up the sound and leading the duo onto new and shifting terrain. While Made in Kalamazoo is Hall’s official debut, he has recorded four CDs with vocalistsaxophonist and Concord Records artist Curtis Stigers, with whom he spent 12 years touring worldwide. A member of Betty Carter’s prestigious Jazz Ahead in 1997, Hall has also released five albums with the critically acclaimed cooperative trio TRI-FI, featuring fellow Stigers sidemen Matthew Fries and Phil Palombi. Rathbun’s stellar body of work ranges from duo with Ran Blake and George Colligan to large-ensemble projects featuring the likes of Kenny Wheeler and Tim Hagans. Hurst is, in Hall’s words, “one of the most significant bass players of the last 30 years,” appearing on such landmarks as Wynton Marsalis’s J Mood and Branford Marsalis’s Crazy People Music, not to mention albums by Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson and more. The joy these three players share in making music is evident on every note of the trio portion of Made in Kalamazoo. Their rapport is fueled by a supple in-the-pocket swing, with an essential balance of looseness and intricacy and ample room for the three virtuosos to stretch. On the duo portion, Hall and Rathbun access another side of their creativity, delving into what Hall calls “a fun experiment of various grooves, textures and sounds.” Results range from swinging acoustic jazz to wah-wah funk, spacey synth and guitar-like riffing. Taken together, the trios, duos and solo drum moments of Made in Kalamazoo speak to the breadth and depth of Hall’s experience, the extraordinary level of communication and trust between him and his colleagues, and the regional inspiration of their Michigan home and all that it has given them. In addition to his busy playing and professorial schedules, Hall is the Artistic Director of the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive, a one-of-a-kind jazz drum camp, now 15 years and counting. He is also the Executive Director of TUNED IN, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting the power of music education to change lives. He has authored the instructional books Jazz Drums Now! Vols. 1 & 2 and is the radio host for Jazz Currents on WMUK, the NPR affiliate in Kalamazoo.


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