Joe Locke/David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Locke/David Hazeltine: Mutual Admiration Society It's only about half way through the year, but this one proves to be strong contender for one of the best releases of 1999. The little label that could out of Westfield, New Jersey keeps cranking out some vigorous and very substantial music and so it should come to no surprise that they would be behind this very imaginative endeavor. Of the two front men here, vibraphonist Joe Locke probably carries more name recognition. He's recently recorded a string of critically-acclaimed and commercially-viable dates for Fantasy and is one of the most tasteful vibes players of his generation. Pianist Hazeltine is less known but has released two previous dates as a leader for Sharp Nine, one for Criss Cross Jazz, and is a vital member of the cooperative unit One For All that features tenor phenom Eric Alexander.

Mutual Admiration Society is an apt title for this session. It is clear that the music presented came from a meeting of the minds between Locke and Hazeltine. Among a few well-chosen standards, there are three originals by Locke and two by Hazeltine, with the latter providing the arrangements throughout. It is no exaggeration to state that as superb as his pianistic talents are, Hazeltine's arranging and composing skills put him in a league of his own. One need look no farther than the album's centerpiece, Burt Bacharach's "I Say a Little Prayer." The slow and relaxed treatment, complete with altered harmonies, is one of the prettiest and most profound things heard in recent memory. Hazeltine also has mastered a way with breaking up the conventional swing beat. He does this by using vamps, repeated ostinatos in the bass, and various other methods that catch the ear and make this music so rewarding even after countless listens.

Locke is also one hell of a musician. His opening "K-Man's Crew" bristles with excitement and announces that this session will proceed far removed from your typical hard bop fare. A thoroughly gorgeous and memorable line, his "Diamonds Remain" is a touching tribute to the late Don Grolnick and one of the highlights of the session. It should also be told that all of this couldn't be carried out successfully without the exemplary contributions of bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Billy Drummond. Each man is responsive and willing to embellish whatever mood is established by the front line partners. Drummond, in particular, has become a modern day Elvin Jones in that he plays with such musical conviction and strength and yet also manages to tailor his dynamics to each situation he finds himself involved in. We will certainly being hearing more from him because he has already become a master in every sense of the word.

Nothing further really needs to be stated because, like so much of the significant and quintessential jazz that we have on tape, the magic of this set really defies written description and evaluation. It really needs to be heard to be appreciated. Anyone want to join me in becoming a member of this mutual admiration society?

Track Listing: K-Man's Crew, I Say a Little Prayer, Can We Talk?, The Haze Factor, Tears in Her Heart, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, Diamonds Remain, For All We Know

Personnel: Joe Locke, vibes; David Hazeltine, piano; Essiet Essiet, bass; Billy Drummond, drums

Title: Mutual Admiration Society | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House" CD/LP/Track Review 92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.