Making Other Arrangements has been a long time comingover 25 years, since trumpeter and broadcaster Linley Hamilton first heard Freddie Hubbard's Ride Like The Wind and decided that one day he, too, would make an album with a large ensemble. It's been worth the wait. Hamilton's third album as leader is lush, romantic and beautifully performed. Based in Belfast, Hamilton is an important figure on the jazz scene of the island of Ireland, as a musician, lecturer and BBC radio broadcaster. Large ensembles are difficult to organise these days, for economic reasons if not logistics, but Hamilton has managed it, drawing together 20 musicians including American vocalist Dana Masters (now living in Northern Ireland) and a 12-piece string section. Arranger and keyboard player Cian Boylan makes the most of this genuinely large ensemble, balancing out the contributions from the string section and the other instruments and creating showcases for soloists including Hamilton himself. Twelve players in the string section13 when bassist David Redmond is includedcould have ended up dominating the sound, but Boylan ensures this doesn't happen. His arrangements enable the string players to add a richness to the sound or to heighten the drama (on "Here's To Life," for example). Hubbard's "Brigitte" is one of the album's standout tracks, centering on Hamilton's controlled yet affecting performance which is set into sharp relief by Boylan's understated arrangement. Boylan makes the most of the strings for "After The Love Has Gone," moving the Earth, Wind & Fire '70s hit a few decades back to create a richly seductive performance that would fit neatly into a Fred Astaire movie. There are lovely touches to be found across the 10 tracks, including Boylan's piano on James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and some excellent solos from Ben Castle and Brendan Doyle. Masters sings on "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon"a fine, soulful, performance that leads one to wonder what she might have added to songs like "Here's To Life" or "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." Maybe next time...
Track Listing: Here’s To Life; Brigitte; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; After The Love Has Gone; Con Alma; Joan Capetown
Flower; Love Dance; Louisiana Sunday Afternoon; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life; Carmel.
Personnel: Linley Hamilton: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben Castle: woodwinds, saxophones; Brendan Doyle: woodwinds,
saxophones; Cian Boylan: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Nigel Clarke: guitar; David Redmond: bass; Guy Rickarby:
drums; Kenneth Rice: violin; Lynda O’Connor: violin; David O’Doherty: violin; Jane Hackett: violin; Paul O’Hanlon:
violin; Louis Roden: violin; Denice Doyle: violin; Karla Vedres: viola; Nathan Sherman: viola; Karen Dervan: viola;
Gerald Peregrine: cello; Paula Hughes: cello; Dana Masters: vocals (8).
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