3

Jeff Hamilton at Phoenix Musicians Union

Patricia Myers By

Sign in to view read count
Jeff Hamilton Trio with Armand Boatman and Jack Radavich
Phoenix Musicians Union
Phoenix, Arizona
March 6, 2014

An Oscar Peterson Trio-like swingfest was delivered by Los Angeles-based drummer Jeff Hamilton in a reunion with longtime Phoenix pianist Armand Boatman, for a scholarship benefit concert presented by the Phoenix Musicians Union as part of its Centennial celebration. The trio, with Phoenix-area bassist Jack Radavich, displayed the big-ears attention required of unrehearsed gigs, resulting in an amazingly cohesive sound for a "pickup" band.

Playing mostly Boatman arrangements, the trio charged through straight-ahead standards that featured the stylish invention and fleet fingers of the 76-year-old pianist. Boatman's perennially pleasing "Sweet Georgia Brown" was filled with the pianist's Oscar-esque penchant for multiple musical quotes. Hamilton donned reading glasses for that chart and several others, but his solos were as imaginative and melodic as anticipated.

"Slow Boat to China" featured a thrilling series of fours exchanged between piano and drums, and stop-tempo segments; the chart was written by former West Coast arranger Bob Freedman after he relocated to Arizona. Radavich launched "Caravan" with strong walking moves, opening the route for Boatman's minor inventions as Hamilton played hands-only, bending drum-head tones with one stick and his knuckles. Hamilton employed tom-toms on "Too Close for Comfort," following that with a melodic exploration on brushes, finishing with a bombastic blast.

The second set added Phoenix tenor saxophonist Jerry Donato for a searing rendition of "The Nearness of You," as Radavich bowed his bass and Hamilton again displayed his legendary prowess with brushes. The upbeat closer was Bobby Hebb's timeless "Sunny," Donato delivering torrid sax swipes as Hamilton created rat-tat-tat bursts to finish the chart and end the concert.

Radavich organized the mini-reunion, knowing that Hamilton met Boatman in 1975 when the latter was the house pianist for the Boojum Tree Lounge of the Phoenix Doubletree Inn, where touring jazz headliners frequently were booked for week-long nightly performances. Radavich said he was in a touring big band when he met Hamilton and that when he heard the drummer was scheduled to bring his (and John Clayton's) big band to Arizona, he contacted him about playing a scholarship benefit in that same week.

Funds from the event established the Armand Boatman Scholarship for Young Sounds of Arizona, two all-star high school big bands established and supported since 1971 by the union.

Starting in 2013, the union has staged monthly concerts in the Union's Vic Kottner Hall to celebrate its 100 years of activity.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read FORQ at The World Cafe Live Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Hot Autumn Nights featuring Peter Noone's Herman's Hermits, the Grass Roots, the Box Tops and Gary Lewis & The Playboys at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury" Live Reviews Hot Autumn Nights featuring Peter Noone's...
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Garana Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Garana Jazz Festival 2017
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Tom Griesgraber and Bert Lams at Kennett Flash" Live Reviews Tom Griesgraber and Bert Lams at Kennett Flash
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Vossajazz 2017" Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.