114

Tardo Hammer: Somethin' Special

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Piano man Tardo Hammer is the perfect poster boy for the category of “one of the greatest jazz musicians you’ve never heard of.” His record dates have been few in number and his musical activity is confined primarily to the New York area, but his world-class stature is categorically undeniable. Now thanks to Sharp Nine, the rest of the world gets a chance to catch some Hammer time. Somethin’ Special is Tardo’s second effort for the small New Jersey-based label and an even more impressive display of pianistic chops than his previous set.

One of Bud Powell’s most sublime items, “John’s Abbey,” provides Hammer’s opening nod. Even at this bright tempo there’s a sense that the pianist is taking his time, carefully selecting notes and telling a story with his lines. In other words, with Hammer it’s not about running up and down the chords as fast as possible. Sonny Clark’s title track was tailor made for Hammer’s methodology, harmonically atypical and yet expansive enough to provide for some comprehensive blowing. Then there’s the more humorous side of things, as the pianist opens up “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with, of course, strains of “Two Base Hit.”

Displaying another facet of his personality, there are four Hammer originals as part of the program. “Divertimento” and “Subterranean are both medium tempo swingers that give a tip of the hat to Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. “Lizard Lips” is constructed with angular melodic tags that leave room for some drum fills and is in the tradition of Herbie Nichols’ iconoclastic writing. Striking a nice balance then, “Into the Fire” provides for ballad relief.

With bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Leroy Williams on hand, Hammer finds himself among kindred spirits and the results are grand. Somethin’ Special provides the closest thing you can get to those singular New York City piano bars of legend (the now-defunct Bradley’s comes to mind) without hopping on a plane.


Track Listing: John

Personnel: Tardo Hammer (piano), Dennis Irwin (bass), Leroy Williams (drums)

| Record Label: Sharp Nine Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Reinvented" CD/LP/Track Review Reinvented
by Jim Olin
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Live In Ludwigshafen 1961" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Ludwigshafen 1961
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Special Kay!" CD/LP/Track Review Special Kay!
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!