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David Hazeltine: Blues For Gerry


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David Hazeltine: Blues For Gerry
A longtime member of the Criss Cross family, pianist David Hazeltine began recording for the label in the mid 1990s. Since then he has released around 30 Criss Cross albums, including eight as leader. During this time, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth, who complete the trio on Blues For Gerry, have been frequent comrades in arms.

Sadly, Criss Cross founder Gerry Teekens passed in 2019. The good news is that his son Jerry has taken over the reins and the label is once again recording new albums, as well as reissuing back-catalogue gems (see here).

Blues For Gerry is Hazeltine's first recording for the label since 2010 and it confirms why Teekens Snr. held him in such high regard. The pianist is not in the business of frightening the horses, but within the framework provided by jazz standards and the Great American Songbook, he digs deep and comes up with the goods. As he says about "Body And Soul" in the liner notes here, "I'm not shying away from overplayed music."

This is, rather surprisingly, the first time Hazeltine has recorded the Johnny Green standard, and its 7:13 exposition is among the best tracks on the album. Others include Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" and Buddy Montgomery's "Here Again." Of the three Hazeltine originals, the title tune, at 7:37 the longest track, is also more than solid. Other source composers are Victor Schertziner ("Tangerine"), Cedar Walton ("Firm Roots"), Jimmy Van Heusen ("It Could Happen To You") and Duke Pearson ("You Know I Care.")

At no point does Hazeltine feel the need to adorn familiar material with mere complexity. What you hear is what you get, and what you get is what it is.

Track Listing

Here Again; Tangerine; Blues For Gerry; Firm Roots; Body And Soul; It Could Happen To You; Skylark; Minor Disturbance; You Know I Care; Here We Go.


David Hazeltine: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Album information

Title: Blues For Gerry | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Criss Cross

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