Sunday, April 08, 2012

Jeff Hamilton Trio - Red Sparkle

Jeff Hamilton - Tamir Hendelman - Christoph Luty
The joyous highlights in my musical career have been referred to as Red Sprakle moments. (Quote: Jeff Hamilton)
Hans Koert
The Jeff Hamilton Trio toured Europe four years ago and performed at the Porgy en Bess Jazz club (Terneuzen - The Netherlands), October 2008, featuring veteran jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton, piano player Tamir Hendelman and bass player Christoph Luty - a well remembered concert in this small famous jazz club. Recently this trio released an album entitled Red Sparkle, which brings back that sweet memory of this great concert.
Jeff Hamilton Trio - Red Sparkle ( Capri Records 74114-2)
This Jeff Hamilton Trio was founded ten years ago and in 2004 it released its first album, entitled The Best Things Happen ....., followed by albums like From Studio 4 - Cologne- Germany and SymbiosisJeff Hamilton, born Richmond Ill, August 1953, started to play the piano as a kid, against his will, as he told Irene Lee for Jazz Times, but from the moment he heard Gene Krupa playing drums and Jo Jones on a Basie lp from his father, drumming fascinated him and when the Stan Kenton band visited Richmond, while on high school, featuring Buddy Rich on drums, he knew for sure: I want to be Buddy Rich .... He went to Indiana University for a few years, but started, before he finished it, to play in the Tommy Dorsey Ghost Band, also known as the New Tommy Dorsey band, founded after Dorsey passed away in November 1956John (Clayton) got me on Monty's gig, Hamilton tells:  We had met at Indiana University and had an instant connection. When Monty hired John he mentioned that he also needed a drummer, and did he have any suggestions.  Jeff played for two years with Monty Alexander Trio (1975-1977), which would become the trio most succesfull years ..... 

Tamir Hendelman ( at Porgy en Bess Jazz club - Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) - October 2008) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
This trio became extremely popular due to its 1976 concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival. This successful trio played almost nightly for two years, before it was broken ....... Monty Alexander and his Trio revisited this famous trio in 2006 and visited Porgy en Bess November 2006 (with Monty Alexander at the piano - John Clayton double bass - Jeff Hamilton drums).  What a great concert! After he left the trio, Jeff joined the Woody Herman Big Band for one season and became a member of Laurindo Almeida - Bud Shank's LA Four ........ His first album under his own name was released January 1982 with Mark Murphy as the vocalist. Jeff accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and was part of the Oscar Peterson Trio and worked with his friend John Clayton as part of the Clayton Brothers' Quartet and the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Jeff is a drummer who loves to play in big bands, but also an expert in smaller groups and he knows how to handle the brushes .........
Jeff Hamilton - Christoph Luty  ( at Porgy en Bess Jazz club - Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) - October 2008) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Tamir Hendelman surprised a few years ago with his second album Destinations, which got several Grammy nominations. He is a sought after accompanists for vocalists like Roberta Gambarini and Barbara Streisand. Christopher Luty is a member for years at the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Jeff Hamilton ( at Porgy en Bess Jazz club - Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) - October 2008) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
For me the opener, Ain't That a Peach strikes the right chords ........ Jeff, Tamir and Christoph create a steady swinging beat, which reminds me to the best Oscar Peterson tradition. It's a tribute to the legendary trumpet player Snooky Young who, in his 90s, recently passed away. Jeff played with Snooky, from the 1980s in several orchestra's like Snooky's own Sextet, with Bob Cooper, in the band of Gene Harris, but most of the times with the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He labels, in the liner notes, Snooky as the backbone of the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchesta for 26 years.
Christoph Luty ( at Porgy en Bess Jazz club - Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) - October 2008) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
The tune Red Sparkle refers to Jeff's first drum set. I was so knocked out with it. When you get the down times on the road, you remember the Red Sparkle drum set you got to play. This first set became the symbol for the highlights on stage .... the Red sparkle moments on the bandstand. Listen to this great Jeff Hamilton composition:

Jeff Hamilton is a great drummer - a master of the brushes. One of the tunes that impressed me most is the standard Too Marvelous For Words in which Jeff, Tamir and Christoph show what an excellent musicians they actually are. And what about the great Monk composition Bye Ya or A Sleepin' Bee, a tune that remembers me to a Sonet CD by the Art Farmer Septet with Red Mitchell on bass recorded in Stockholm 1974.

Tamir Hendelman  ( at Porgy en Bess Jazz club - Terneuzen ( The Netherlands) - October 2008) (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
There's one minor point: Why doesn't the album lists the members of the trio? I had to search for the names of Tamir Hendelman and Christoph Luty, hidden in the liner notes. Isn't it strange that the liner notes don't give that information, nor the recording dates? Tamir told me that this info will be added in the next printing of the cd. Thank Tamir!

One of those pearls on the album is the Stephen Bishop hit On and On, with the byoyant beat from Ahmad Jamal's ineffably swinging Poinciana, a hat tip to the great New Orleans drummer Vernel Fournier, Jeff informs, in which all three musicians impress. Enjoy this tune: On and On:

The Red Sparkle album learns what a great drummer Jeff Hamilton is and this album, Red Sparkle he made with his trio, featuring Tamir Hendelman and Christoph Luty should be heard by every serious jazz lover. The album can be ordered at Caprirecords
Hans Koert
Twitter: # keepitswinging

When I first heard this Jeff Hamilton Trio, featuring Jeff Hamilton on drums, Tamir Hendelman at the piano and Christoph Luty on bass at the Porgy en Bess Jazz club, I was impressed. Tamir, Christoph and I all think alike musically, Jeff explains why they are such a solid band: We all have a common goal, which is to make the other people in the group sound as good as they can.  Recently its latest album, Red Sparkle, was released and it reminds me to that great unforgetable concert four years ago ..............  Keep (it) Swinging loves to point you to this kind of new albums, which should be in your collection. If you don't want to miss it, ask for the Keep (it) Swinging newsletter:

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