121

Tardo Hammer: Look Stop & Listen

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
Tardo Hammer: Look Stop & Listen 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.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Fly South" CD/LP/Track Review Fly South
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Psichedelica" CD/LP/Track Review Psichedelica
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Moons
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Something Real" CD/LP/Track Review Something Real
by Doug Collette
Published: March 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!