All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

193

Bertha Hope: Nothin' But Love

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Betha Hope has certainly been a late bloomer. Long story short, this imaginative pianist was married to the equally inventive piano man Elmo Hope. Her talents, however, would largely remain dormant for most of the '60s and '70s, apart from the few duets with her husband that were heard on a mid-'60s Riverside date. It wouldn't be until after Elmo had prematurely passed on and she was done raising the kids that Bertha would return to the performing arena. Hooking up with the Danish SteepleChase label, Hope's first recording would be 1990's In Search of Hope, followed the next year by Elmo's Fire and then in 1992 with the Minor Music release, Between Two Kings. As such, and hard as it is to believe, Nothin' But Love turns out to be Hope's first-ever domestic release.

Working with her long-time associates, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Jimmy Cobb, Bertha endows us with a truly divergent set of ten pieces and dons a melancholy mood, perhaps suggestive of beautiful memories from the past. Recalling her childhood, Hope's wispy vocals render a poignant version of the traditional "Balm in Gilead." Husband Elmo's "Moon Over Marrakesh" is wisely included and the self-penned "Gone to See T" serves as an admonition of the greatness of Thelonious Monk, although its oddly displaced melody also tips a nod in the direction of Herbie Nichols.

Hope's style, a bit hard to verbalize, owes much to men like her husband, Monk, and Nichols. There's nothing predictable about it at all. She favors dark harmonies and pointed phrases that avoid the obvious and yet have a resounding brilliance that makes her playing, at times, simply mesmerizing. She can also hit those bebop changes as apparent on "Leslie." This George Braith original based on the changes of "Confirmation" also sports a catchy opening vamp of the "Salt Peanuts" variety. Booker and Cobb get their dibs in too, the former doing a good deal of bowed work throughout and the latter contributing a lucent display on "Prayer For Sun Ra."

A deceptively simple line built off of a major sixth, the closing "Nothin' But Love" succinctly brings to a close this extraordinary piano trio set that shimmers with Hope's love of music and willingness to fully share of her talents with her fellow musicians and audience.


Title: Nothin' But Love | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Reservoir Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Dreaming Big" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Big
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Tag Book" CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Way Out West" CD/LP/Track Review Way Out West
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "2" CD/LP/Track Review 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Chapter 2" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter 2
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 1, 2018