Home » Jazz Articles » Jeff Hamilton Trio: Great American Songs Through the Years


Album Review

Jeff Hamilton Trio: Great American Songs Through the Years


Sign in to view read count
Jeff Hamilton Trio: Great American Songs Through the Years
Jeff Hamilton, by any measure one of the more tasteful and talented jazz drummers on the scene, has kept his working trio (Tamir Hendelman, piano; Christoph Luty, bass) together for more than a decade. There's a good reason for that: Hendelman and Luty are kindred souls, and as accomplished in their own way as Hamilton is in his. Collectively, they form an inspired and seamless unit that makes every note and phrase seem deceptively credible and polished, as is the case on Great American Songs Through the Years, an album that lends new meaning to the expression "easy listening."

Laying aside for a moment the idea that the album's title covers a wide territorial range and may warrant some sort of qualifier (Some Great American Songs, Several Great American Songs, A Number Of Great American Songs?), there's no doubt that Hamilton's trio has dipped into its expansive stockpile and come up with ten clear-cut prize-winners from among the many Great American Songs ever written, nor that each of them is given the sort of tender loving care that is guaranteed to enhance even further their natural brilliance and charm.

The songs, of course, are well-known and time-honored, as are the various composers (a shame they aren't listed on the album's jacket, which also omits any liner notes). The tunesmiths include Rodgers and Hart (three songs), the Gershwin brothers (two), Jimmy van Heusen (two more, with lyrics by Johnny Burke and Johnny Mercer) and the Hollywood team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren. Most are from Tin Pan Alley's golden age of the '20s and '30s; the most recent, from 1946, is "Tenderly." The Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me" was published in 1926, Rodgers and Hart's "Thou Swell" in 1927, "You Took Advantage of Me" in '28, as was the Gershwins' "How Long Has This Been Going On." The '30s produced "Falling in Love with Love," "I Thought About You" and "All or Nothing at All," the '40s "Tenderly," "The More I See You" and "It Could Happen to You."

As would be expected, Hendelman is the melodic fulcrum, and carries out that assignment with assurance and panache. Hamilton and Luty have their moments too, with Luty making good use of the Arco on "The More I See You" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" while fingering clever introductions to that song and "I Thought About You" and conveying the melody on "You Took Advantage of Me." Hamilton, a master with brushes as well as sticks, adds forceful statements on "Falling in Love with Love," "The More I See You," "You Took Advantage of Me" and launches "It Could Happen to You" on brushes. Five stars for the trio, another five for those Great American Songs.

A footnote: This is a limited-edition CD (2,500 copies), available only from the Capri Records website or from amazon.com

Track Listing

Falling in Love with Love; Tenderly; The More I See You; It Could Happen to You; Someone to Watch Over Me; Thou Swell; You Took Advantage of Me; I Thought About You; All or Nothing at All; How Long Has This Been Going On.


Tamir Hendelman: piano; Christoph Luty: bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums.

Album information

Title: Great American Songs Through the Years | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Capri Records

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Open House
Tom Ollendorff
Denver Sessions
Dave Askren / Jeff Benedict
Live At The Bottom Line
Jorma Kaukonen


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.