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Linley Hamilton: Right On The Wavelength

Ian Patterson By

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The music that Hamilton programs on his show belongs in the main to the contemporary scene: "If I play nine tracks per show then six or seven will be from within the past three years," he explains. "I'm really focusing on new releases because I want the listeners to associate the music they are hearing with artists who are actually performing here and now and gigging at a place near them. The musicians of today have to have a voice and they have to have a platform. There's plenty of opportunity to watch and to listen to the greats but there are people playing now who in ten, twenty or forty years time will be the greats. Let's make the new greats," Hamilton stresses with an evangelizer's zeal.

There are still musical goals to be achieved—part of the ongoing transition in Hamilton's sound and approach to composition and improvisation: "I've arrived at this sound and I'm going to try to create space in my phrasing to allow the sound to dominate so that there's a lot more gravity with each note I play," he explains. "Secondly, I've never quite managed to achieve the angularity in my playing, and by that I mean looking at the intervallic structure of the notes that are beside each other in a solo, so I'm looking at triadic playing—in other words notes that are arpeggic or scalar in relation to each other.

"I realize I could still be improvising melodically but with notes that are more separated intervalically. I can do it but I need to put a lot of hours in to make those phrases cement the way my normal phrasing works. If I can create opportunities where I can play in an intervalically wider situation during my solos at times with the same fluency I have working triadically, I know I'm probably going to achieve everything that I really want to whenever I play."

The year ahead will be a busy and significant one for Hamilton, who all being well will complete his PHD: "Hopefully the radio show will keep going and I'll keep evangelizing. I want to gig and tour with the album band—we've got Cork coming up and the Sunflower Festival. I want to maintain my work ethic of doing around two hundred and fifty jazz gigs a year, which I do every year."

Not surprisingly, Hamilton's thoughts are also firmly focused on what he can do for the young generation of jazz musicians: "I want to help bring the next generation through by getting them to play and by endorsing them," he enthuses. "I'd like to set that up in some kind of formal way and keep supporting the local artists. Jazz is a social language, a social construct. It's like religion in many ways; it's how people choose to live their lives. There's enough in that construct while you're on earth to create an environment of friendship, support and mentoring."

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Courtesy of Linley Hamilton
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