Nick Hempton: Night Owl

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Nick Hempton: Night Owl
If jazz belongs to a single breed of believers, it would have to go to the night owls. Those loyalists who live a nocturnal existence—the listeners. sitting at the bar while they drink in their surroundings, and the performers, playing into the wee small hours in basement hideaways—are the heartbeat of this music, and saxophonist Nick Hempton knows it.

Having spent many an evening in clubs and corner bars, Hempton is more than qualified to raise his horn in a toast to his fellow nighthawks. And here, on his sixth album, fronting an organ quartet recorded live at GB's Juke Joint, he does just that. Across these nine tracks Hempton delivers a "no BS" form of music that speaks to earthy atmospheres, soulful suggestions and good-time grooves associated with let-it-all-hang-out, late-night sessions.

This album, appropriately enough, opens with the title track—a shuffling winner wrapped in blue. Then the peppy "I Remember Milady's" arrives, giving guitarist Peter Bernstein, the leader himself, and organist Kyle Koehler a chance to work the sly-turned-peppy changes. Beyond that point, the highlight reel includes a lively "After You've Gone" where these spry souls take turns darting around with an eye on thematic threads; an appropriately painted, pathos-fueled "I'm A Fool To Want You" underscored by drummer Fukushi Tainaka's gentle tom groove; a swaggering "Corner Bistro" with a '70s throwback vibe; and a pleasantly drifting take on Duke Ellington's "It Shouldn't Happen To A Dream."

Nobody here is presenting a false narrative on the scene, putting on airs or playing toward over-intellectualized ideals. This is how it is, and this what it is, plain and simple. When the lights go down, the music comes out. Just soak it all in and rejoice in that act.

Track Listing

Night Owl; I Remember Milady's; After You've Gone I'm A Fool To Want You; 10st Street Turnaround; Corner Bistro; It Shouldn't Happen To A Dream; Listen Hard, Speak Easy; Macao Mood.


Nick Hempton: saxophones; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Kyle Koehler: Hammond B3 organ; Fukushi Tainaka: drums.

Album information

Title: Night Owl | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


In Space
The Luvmenauts
Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.