Ken Hatfield wields his eloquent and supple classical guitar on his latest jazz offering, Phoenix Rising. He uses a basic trio formatguitar/bass/drumsbolstered by guest artist slots featuring piano, tenor sax and trumpet on several tunes.
Hatfieldwho has been commissioned to write several balletsleans toward his classical side on the opener, "Phoenix Rising" and "Tableau du souvenir"; plays some sweet straight ahead jazz on "The Aleph", that features Billy Drewes' round, hollow-toned, Paul Desmond sound (though Desmond was an alto man) on tenor sax. "Meroe" has the Brazilian tint to it, and features a some mellow trumpet work by Claudio Roditi. "Yo Es", with the Dom Salvador sitting in on piano, swings, a la Django, with Hatfield sounding loose and easy, trading chording and lead chores back and forth with the keyboard, a shuffling rhythmthe highlight for this listener. You'll find Hatfield's most interesting and intricate classical guitar work on "Iberia", joined again by trumpeter Roditi, and then another jazzy go with "Jeanette", Drewes sitting in on sax again.
The disc closes with a straight ahead "Riff for Brother Jack", just the trio this time, some beautiful uncluttered picking by Hatfield, a tune that showcases bassist Hans Glawishnig's solid contributions to the CD's sound.
A top notch classical/jazz guitar outing by Hatfield; and also of noteif you like the sound of an additional string instrument (violin and viola), check out his CD Dyad from a couple of years back, also on Arthur Circle Music.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.