Familiarity is a plus on this 2005 studio session by pianist David Hazeltine with bassist George Mraz and drummer Billy Drummond. Drawing most of their program from familiar standards and popular jazz compositions, the three musicians make each of them sound fresh with their brilliant interplay.
The influence of Bill Evans is apparent in Hazeltine's approach to Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way, with Mraz's intricate bass line and Drummond's finesse on the brushes fueling the pianist's solo, though he leaves plenty of room in the spotlight for his partners. The opening rhythm of "Alone Together suggests that "A Night in Tunisia is about to get underway, though with the leader's entrance, they detour into a breezy, swinging performance. Cole Porter's "So in Love is taken at a medium waltz meter, showcasing Mraz extensively. Hazeltine penned the lovely ballad "Don't Walk Away, arranged as an easygoing samba.
The intimate sound of this well-engineered Super Audio hybrid CD helps one to hear the nuances of the session. This rewarding release is best appreciated in a quiet room with one's full attention.
Track Listing: In Your Own Sweet Way; Imagination; Out of This World; Theme for Ernie; Cinema Paradiso; Alone Together; Detour Ahead; Don
Personnel: David Hazeltine: piano; George Mraz: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.