145

Tardo Hammer: Look Stop & Listen: The Music of Tadd Dameron

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Tardo Hammer: Look Stop & Listen: The Music of Tadd Dameron Nearly a decade ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Hammer Time, the impressive debut album by (as I wrote then) an "enormously talented" young pianist, Tardo Hammer. While we've both grown older since then, I am happy to report that at least one of us (guess who) has continued on an upward path. Hammer's latest album for Sharp Nine Records (his fourth) is another handsome feather in his cap. The lively and engaging session is devoted entirely to music by the remarkable pianist, composer and early bopper Tadd Dameron, several of whose compositions have become Jazz standards.

For one who was on the cutting edge of Jazz when Diz, Bird and others were rewriting the rulebook, Dameron was quite the melody-maker, which is one reason why so many of his songs have stood the test of time and are still being played today, albeit seldom with greater warmth and understanding than Hammer marshals. One has the feeling that if Dameron were still alive this is the way he'd be playing them too. Stylistically, Hammer is from the Hank Jones / Tommy Flanagan / Barry Harris school of euphonic resourcefulness: placing charm and accessibility above self-absorption and never inflating his remarks when forbearance will suffice.

That's not to imply there's no fire in Hammer's belly. He can scorch the keyboard when necessary, but always ignites his bonfires with utmost care. And when the script calls for finesse, as on the ballads "Dial B for Beauty" or "If You Could See Me Now," Hammer lays bare an abundant storehouse of graceful exposition. For rhythmic support, he leans on two veteran sidemen who have in effect become Sharp Nine's "house rhythm section"— bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth—neither of whom gives him cause for concern while carrying out his assignment with proficiency and assurance. It's especially pleasing to hear Farnsworth use brushes so adeptly, as he does on several numbers, ably balancing the rhythm while remaining discreetly in the background. He's an engaging soloist too, as is Webber.

Even though Hammer leads a trio, one is tempted to call it a quartet, as the album would surely be less enjoyable were it not for the impressive recording, mixing and mastering skills of Mike Marciano who helps make it come alive. Great sound, a marvelous pianist and a world-class threesome presenting nearly an hour of splendid music by one of Jazz history's most renowned composers. It doesn't get much better than that.


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: The Music of Tadd Dameron | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Nine Thoughts For One Word" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Thoughts For One Word
by John Ephland
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by James Nadal
Published: January 12, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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