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Ken Hatfield and Friends: To be Continued...

Elliott Simon By

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Ken Hatfield is a virtuoso on his chosen instrument, the nylon-stringed classical guitar, and has showcased his abilities in environs including Appalachian, classical and jazz. Comfortable across genres, he and his instrument are well-suited for these Bill McCormick tunes born of multiple influences. This release is an outgrowth of a previous McCormick project, Music for Guitar (mPub, 2003), that featured music for the unaccompanied instrument. This time, pieces are written primarily for jazz ensemble, and if the current title is to believed, this fruitful association is "To be Continued"... within other formats.

Two pieces—the bluesy "Mystery Ship," which also includes Steve Kroon's gentle percussion, and the unadorned country/classical beauty of "Pastorale"—have Hatfield's talents front and center, singling out the gorgeous purity of his instrument. The remainder features a quintet with Kroon, drummer Dan Weiss, bassist Hans Glawischnig and saxophonist Jim Clouse.

"El Camino Wes" closes things out with a bouncy tribute that benefits from a soulful tenor sax contrast to Hatfield's strings, but Clouse chooses soprano for the rest of the program. He takes advantage of that instrument's fleetness and his own tone, which at times can be almost electronic sounding. This can make for some dissimilar though not displeasing bedfellows, as on the opener, "The Spirit of Soul," and "Memories of a Dream," in which Hatfield's understated touch is contrasted with Clouse's strident playing. Glawischnig has collaborated with Hatfield before, on Music for Guitar and Bass (Arthur Circle Music, 1998), and the two engage each other exceedingly well here. They have an interesting conversation on the bopper "I'm Movin' to Cool Breeze City," and some very pretty bass arco work adds to the title cut that boasts its own substantial moments. For the most part though, a happy-go-lucky ethos permeates much of this entertaining session.

Track Listing: The Spirit Of Soul; Memories Of A Dream; I'm Movin' To Cool Breeze City; Mystery Ship; To Be Continued; The Persistence Of Saudade; Pastorale; El Camino Wes.

Personnel: Ken Hatfield: guitar, mandolin; Jim Clouse: soprano and tenor sax; Hans Glawischnig: bass; Steve Kroon: percussion; Dan Weiss: drums.

Title: To be Continued... | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: mPub Music

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