Nick Hempton: Nick Hempton Band

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Nick Hempton: Nick Hempton Band In 2005, Australian-born alto saxophonist Nick Hempton assembled a group of players to launch an assault on the Big Apple's vibrant jazz scene. His quartet—with musicians from around the globe including Israeli drummer Dan Aran, Sicilian-born bassist Marco Panascia, and pianist Art Hirahara (the only naturally-born American in the group, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area)—has been performing at jazz venues in the New York area ever since. The quartet's self-titled debut contains intelligent renditions of three familiar standards and five originals from Hempton, delivered in a modern/mainstream style that's quite inviting.

Opening up with Hempton's "Get This...," the saxophonist wastes little time in establishing his dominance over the music by peeling off solid solos, while providing space for Panascia to feature some of his stern bass work. The bassist leads off "The Times" with a brisk solo of his own before Hempton weighs in with another meaty sax phrase. Not to be left behind, drummer Aran pounds the cow hide and Hirahara rounds out the rhythm work with deliberate piano runs to complete a splendid musical collaboration.

Hempton is especially pronounced on the album's first standard, delivering a heartfelt and emotive performance on a cushy version of Benny Carter's "Lonely Woman," tastefully conveying the heartbreak feeling of its title. Changing direction for a moment, the band takes off on the upbeat and lively original, "I'm A Nurse, I'm An Engineer," firmly establishing its ability to swing. Providing a very fine new arrangement to Joe Henderson's "Serenity" where, alongside the barn-burner "Trivia," Hempton lays down some of his best alto jousts of the album.

The session winds down with "The Artful Roger," a perky and very boppish number on which Hirahara showcases his more than ample chops with some quick and nimble finger play on the piano. The finale is considered a bonus track, finding the band performing its only slow ballad with a kind treatment of Burke/Van Heusen's "But Beautiful." Featuring a guest appearance from vocalist Jimmy Lategano, it turns out to be a very humble tune, with the drummer on the brushes, the piano man dishing out warm chords, and Hempton toning down his versatile alto voice to accommodate the mood.

The Nick Hempton Band is one of a new crop of very fine jazz groups ready to take the baton and keep jazz moving forward. To this noble endeavor, the debut of Nick Hempton Band is a perfect example of just how good modern jazz music can sound.

Track Listing: Get This...; The Times; Lonely Woman; I'm A Nurse, I'm An Engineer; Serenity; Trivia; The Artful Roger; But Beautiful.

Personnel: Nick Hempton: alto saxophone; Art Hirahara: piano; Marco Panascia: bass; Dan Aran: drums; Jimmy Lategano: vocals (9).

Title: Nick Hempton Band | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" CD/LP/Track Review Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "OUTgoing" CD/LP/Track Review OUTgoing
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

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