95

Sharp Nine: Tardo Hammer and David Hazeltine

By

Sign in to view read count








Tardo Hammer
Look Stop & Listen
Sharp Nine
2007


David Hazeltine
The Inspiration Suite
Sharp Nine
2007




This spring, producer Mark Edelman, proprietor of Sharp Nine Records, shepherded these two dates (his boutique bop label's 39th and 40th) through Brooklyn's Systems Two studio (kudos for splendid balance and clarity by Mike Marciano) and they hew to the 12-year old label's evolving house style. Certain similarities are obvious: strong piano playing, composition-oriented leaders; solid performances in a cool and earnest post-bop style; familiar faces of a coterie that keeps its circle small; same firm (if not quite 'house') rhythm team of bassist Jon Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth. The label's sharp point — what's the point of each release? — is evidenced here in Tardo Hammer's trio working through the Tadd Dameron book and David Hazeltine's standard-framed four-tune suite indirectly honoring the muses of Cedar Walton and Buddy Montgomery.

Hammer plays Dameron's succulent, crisp melodies on Look Stop & Listen — most sadly and unwisely neglected standards from prime bebop era — with easy grace and a not-too-smooth, thorny elegance. A true democracy prevails. Sassy fours (even twos, as on "Super Jet ) with Farnsworth's tuneful toms and crisp stick-work crop up on eight of ten tracks, while Webber pumps along famously, digging into his equally plentiful solos (sweet ballad "Dial B for Beauty , chipper "Squirrel , humalong "Hot House , lyrically inspired "If You Could See Me Now , zippy closer "Flossie Lou ). Among other lovelies, the elegant "Smooth As The Wind evokes the soaring grace of Blue Mitchell's so-named Riverside album with strings.

David Hazeltine's The Inspiration Suite frames his foursquare and forthright suite with right-minded far-from-Broadway tunes ("I Should Care , "My Ideal as an introspective piano musing) and caps it with strong tunes by honorees Walton (the smooth if shruggy "Shoulders ) and Montgomery (upstanding but wriggly "Personage of Wes ). Warm harmonies and blends characterize Hazeltine's charts in the suite, while texturally Eric Alexander's lean, sinewy tenor sax plays keenly opposite Joe Locke's orotund vibraphonic brilliance that bubbles to the surface like tête de cuvée Champagne. The pianist's comping and sense of structure hold all reins in hand through the taut turnarounds of "Motivation , the ambling loose-limbed "Reverence , the tricky, potent "Insight and sassy 6/8 "Gratitude .


Tracks and Personnel

Look Stop & Listen

Tracks: Focus; Look Stop & Listen; Smooth as the Wind; Dial B for Beauty; The Squirrel; Hot House; Super Jet; If You Could See Me Now; Our Delight Flossie Lou.

Personnel: Tardo Hammer: piano; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

The Inspiration Suite

Tracks: I Should Care; Don't Walk Away; The Inspiration Suite: Motivation-Reverence-Insight-Gratitude; My Ideal; Shoulders; Personage of Wes.

Personnel: David Hazeltine: piano; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Joe Locke: vibes; John Webber: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums; Daniel Sadownick: percussion (tracks 2, 4, 9).


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read Roots In The Green Mountains Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read Green Mountain Jazz Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Green Mountain Jazz" Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out" Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights" Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel" Multiple Reviews Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel
by Doug Collette
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.