What do you get when you have two great tenor saxophonists displaying their immeasurable musical chops on the same stage? Tenor madness of course, and that's exactly what is featured when you hear Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen together on Scott Hamilton/ Harry Allen: Live!
, recorded in concert in 2014 at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA. While the selection of tunes numbers only six, this is no EP because each of the pieces measure from eight to almost fifteen minutes in length, packed with an array of power phrases from the co-leaders.
The two jazz icons bring their very formidable quintet to bare featuring a world-class rhythm section of pianist Rossano Sportiello
, bassist Paul Keller
and drummer Leon Joyce, Jr.
in support of the two flame throwers. The swinging session of music begins with Woody Herman
's "Apple Honey" introduced by Keller and Sportiello swiftly enjoined by both tenors playing in unison and as expected, eventually launching one solo after another with Allen taking the first shot and Hamilton providing the second round with the pianist weighing in as well as drummer Joyce, Jr. with his own solo, on one power-packed performance by the leaders and entire band.
The swinging theme of the concert continues on "The Lonesome Road," a tune once recorded by Frank Sinatra
though, one could not discern that by listening to this boppish version taken to the hard bop side of jazz with Scott delivering the first steaming solo and followed by Allen's own fiery turn on the tenor received well by an applauding audience. Lester Young
's dynamic "Tickle Toe" is a tune that fires up the crowd with the dynamic duo blowing hard and furious on yet another swinger.
The defining piece of the set has to be this rendition of the classic jazz standard "Body and Soul," as stated in the liner notes "the tenor ballad of all ballads," played slow and softly as the two saxophonist trade salvos before teaming up on joint phrases, eerily similar to the great Coleman Hawkins
/ Ben Webster
encounter of so long ago, finishing in tumultuous applause from those witnessing the concert live. The evening comes to a rousing end as the band performs "Blues Up and Down," one of the most famous two-tenor chase songs ever written and recorded with Gene Ammons
and Sonny Stitt
doing the original honors duplicated here by two legends in the making.
Playing the tenor saxophone the way it was meant to be heard, tenor men Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen deliver a full-throated, hard bop, swinging and sizzling performance in a live set that thankfully, was documented for all to enjoy. Scott Hamilton / Harry Allen: Live!
is clearly, one of those superior musical statements that was obviously memorable for those who heard it live, and bound to be as impressive for those who choose to sample this incredible recording.