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Scott Hamilton / Rein de Graaff Trio: Live at the JazzRoom

Jack Bowers By

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Scott Hamilton, whose enviable career has taken him around the world many times and ensured his appearance on more than a hundred notable recordings, is a throwback to an era in which tenor saxophonists could be readily identified by their sound, phrasing and singular approach to improvising. Not that Hamilton can be; he has instead incorporated many of the more admirable trademarks of his predecessors to become a sort of Everyman on his chosen instrument—not easily spotted in a lineup but perfectly at home and comfortable in virtually any setting and in any company.

The setting in this instance is the music-friendly JazzRoom in Breda, The Netherlands (marking its tenth anniversary when the concert was recorded in 2013), while the company consists of pianist Rein De Graaff's broad-shouldered trio (Marius Beets, bass; Eric Ineke, drums). It's an alliance that suits Hamilton to a T, and he celebrates the experience by mapping out the kind of warm and burnished performance for which he has long been known and praised. De Graaff, for his part, not only comps superbly but shows why he is widely seen as a formidable soloist whose dexterity and discernment are second to none. Beets and Ineke, each of whom is a stellar soloist in his own right, provide a secure bedrock on which everyone is able to unwind and from which they launch their always luminous and unerring broadsides.

Hamilton sets an inviting groove from the outset on Dizzy Gillespie's bop classic, "Groovin' High," the first of four jazz standards on the appetizing menu (the others are Woody Herman's impetuous "Apple Honey," Denzel Best's similarly mercurial "Move" and Tadd Dameron's savory "Good Bait"). They are complemented by a trio of warhorses from the Great American Songbook: "Flamingo," "Speak Low" and "Darn That Dream." Hamilton, a master of every mood and tempo, treats each one as an old and welcome friend, giving it his undivided care and consideration. De Graaff and his trio do the same, producing a mouth-watering banquet for anyone who likes his or her jazz garnished with a generous helping of good old-fashioned swing.

Track Listing: Groovin’ High; Flamingo; Apple Honey; Speak Low; Darn That Dream; Move; Good Bait.

Personnel: Scott Hamilton: tenor saxophone; Rein de Graaff: piano; Marius Beets: bass; Eric Ineke: drums.

Title: Live at the JazzRoom | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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