Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

121

Tardo Hammer: Look Stop & Listen

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
A teacher at Cambridge, Massachusetts' New School of Music when he's not leading singer Annie Ross' band, pianist Tardo Hammer has backed up stalwarts including Lou Donaldson and Abbey Lincoln, and was a member of the Art Farmer-Clifford Jordan Quintet. The last credit is the key here, because Jordan played on Live at the Theatre Boulogne—the 1994 Soul Note release by Dameronia, Don Sickler and Philly Jo Jones' big-band tribute to legendary composer/arranger Tadd Dameron. How much influence Jordan had on Hammer's choice of material is unknown. What is evident on Look Stop & Listen is Hammer's own affinity for Dameron—like Hammer, a formidable pianist.

"Make little songs when you play was one of Dameron's mottos. That is borne out in the ideas within ideas found on much of the material here. Pieces take unexpected turns into completely different directions, only there is no shock value attached to the moves; in Dameron's mind, one concept "logically led to another. This is demonstrated on "Focus, which begins as a quietly frenetic run down a steep hill, and then suddenly swerves into a swinging blues strut. The change in altitude and attitude would be jarring if the music (and Hammer's performance) wasn't so awesome.

Hammer's piano is steeped in bebop, which is perfect for approaching Dameron's work: "Our Delight was a staple of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, while "The Squirrel was a jam-session favorite in the days when the "new sound sprouted out of the minds of Dizzy and Bird. Hammer blasts out on both, using a wild right hand and an exemplary sense of harmony to bring life to the song's rich textures. He makes "Hot House bounce like a happy little ball, and has a deft, loving touch that brings the proper level of affection to the ballad "If You Could See Me Now (a big hit for Sarah Vaughan). He also casts "Dial B for Beauty into a sweet bebop-goes-west coast mode.

Given the total tonnage of ideas in Dameron's compositions, Hammer needed players with voices of their own to make this material complete. John Webber and Joe Farnsworth definitely fill the bill. Farnsworth plays with an unbridled joy on the title track (originally written for Philly Jo), and cuts his own creative swath on "Our Delight. Webber's bass is rich and lyrical on "Focus, and his solo on "If You Could See Me Now takes the piece's intimacy to an even deeper level.

Dameron's work may have brought color and texture to the big bands of Dizzy, Count Basie and Artie Shaw, but Look Stop & Listen shows that Dameron's music is best appreciated in a simpler setting. Hammer has painted a portrait with a soul, displaying the essence of Dameron without being overawed by his subject. The results are definitely suitable for framing.


Track Listing: Focus; Look Stop & Listen; Smooth as the Wind; Dial B for Beauty; The Squirrel; Hot House; Super Jet; If You Could See Me Now; Our Delight; Flossie Lou.

Personnel: Tardo Hammer: piano; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Title: Look Stop & Listen | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Heartscape" CD/LP/Track Review Heartscape
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: October 8, 2017
Read "Opening Statement" CD/LP/Track Review Opening Statement
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "A Beautiful Story" CD/LP/Track Review A Beautiful Story
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "A Wing Dissolved In Light" CD/LP/Track Review A Wing Dissolved In Light
by John Sharpe
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "I Am A Man" CD/LP/Track Review I Am A Man
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Meeting My Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017

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!