255

Scott Hamilton: Jazz Signatures

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Continuing in his quarter-century tenure with Concord Records, Scott Hamilton is still finding fresh concepts for presenting his pre-bop tenor sax sound that went against the grain of the fusion groups when he first started recording. Taking his cue from masters like Ben Webster or Don Byas, rather than Wayne Shorter, Hamilton continued their pioneering tradition of the tenor sax as a voice-like instrument with universal emotional appeal.

Hamilton pays tribute to those originators, who merged melodic urgency with emotional content, as well as to others who had the same effect in extending the vocabulary of jazz within boundaries accepted by the general public. His concept on Jazz Signatures is a simple one: recognizing through his own style the jazz artists who left their own mark on the genre, unobtrusively and yet indelibly.

His choices are sometimes telling.

Don Byas in particular is an insightful choice, Byas’ work inspiring other tenor players, even as he faded from public recognition after his move to Europe. Playing “Byas A Drink” with a light Latin-tinged approach, Hamilton stresses the richness of tone combined with the appeal of the improvisational lines. In addition, Hamilton goes against convention by recognizing Illinois Jacquet with a slower, evocative "You Left Me All Alone,” instead of the “signature” number, “Flying Home.”

Pianists are included in Hamilton’s signatures as well, particularly Fats Waller, whose “Jitterbug Waltz” breezes along more aggressively and perhaps less unctuously than one would expect from the saxophonist. Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” proceeds with a light swing, Hamilton’s long tones stretching the phrasing from one chorus into the next as he lightly bends notes and adds swelling dynamics to a single note, similar to Stan Getz’s approach. And Billy Strayhorn is counted among the pianists. Hamilton animates “Raincheck” with an effortless and mature interpretation that has no need at all for gimmickry. Hank Jones’ “Angel Face” is more delicate, Hamilton’s full sound stressing the logic of its harmonic development, the meandering theme eventually weaving into a satisfying conclusion.

But then the last track honors a pianist important to Hamilton’s career, John Bunch, who accompanies him throughout the album. The person who introduced Hamilton to Benny Goodman in the 1970’s, and who thus helped launch Hamilton’s career, Bunch has stayed in touch with the saxophonist through the years. Their relationship continues, as shown on Jazz Signatures, which they recorded last year in Wimbleton, England after a gig at London’s Pizza Express (where, by the way, Mose Allsoin recorded The Mose Chronicles, Vol. One. “John’s Bunch,” however, ends the project on a high note, its shuffle rhythm propelling the quartet into its controlled frenzy and then dramatically closing the CD with rolling chords, trills, growls and a blue note.

http://www.concordrecords.com


Track Listing: Raincheck, In Your Own Sweet Way, Jitterbug Waltz, If You Could See Me Now, Move, Byas A Drink, You Left Me All Alone, When Lights Are Low, Angel Face, John

Personnel: Scott Hamilton, tenor sax; John Bunch, piano; Dave Green, bass; Steve Brown, drums

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Seven Storey Mountain V" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Storey Mountain V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!