Last week saw the release of the Jeff Hamilton Trio’s latest album “Live from San Pedro” on Capri Records. Recorded live at the Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, California, the Trio barnstorm’s their way through a set of swinging standards, show tunes and original’s. Rooted firmly in the style of the Oscar Peterson Trio, master drummer Jeff Hamilton has long carried the torch for driving swing while at all times maintaining exquisite taste. With this trio, Hamilton has chosen the perfect partners in Tamir Hendelman, piano and Christoph Luty on bass who display not only great virtuosity but impeccable discipline.
This trio is tight, living proof of the chemistry between these three equal partners and this is apparent throughout the entire album. The rapport between these musicians is evident, for not only is the trio now in it’s 17th year but also, Luty and Hendelman together with Hamilton also form the rhythm section of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
Opening with the hard swinging shuffle of ‘Sybille’s Day’ the trio defines the essence of the album in no uncertain terms, straight ahead! The recording quality is outstanding with each instrument perfectly balanced in the mix. The trio was obviously in great form on the evening as you can almost feel the intimate crowd sitting on the edge of there stools often interjecting with applause.
I particularly enjoyed their version of Ahmad Jamal’s classic “Poinciana”. Staying close to original, this track features a great performance by bassist Christoph Luty who not only holds down the feel but also provides some great melodic counterpoint. His solo on this track is fully consistent with the style and at times reminiscent of Ray Brown. “Hammer’s Tones” features a block chord theme played by the entire trio before giving way to the trio leader Jeff Hamilton for his first solo of the set. One of the many things I enjoy about Jeff Hamilton’s playing is that during his solo’s you never loose track of the melody, this is certainly the case here.
Christoph Luty opens Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic “I have Dreamed” with a superbly performed arco intro, displaying a great and tone and solid intonation, something that’s not often heard in a jazz setting. Thelonious Monk’s “In Walked Bud” is given a highly arranged treatment before launching into a straight four feest for the trio with solo’s from pianist Tamir Hendelman, Luty and Hamilton. Highlights of the album include Gina’s Groove and believe me, it grooves and the final track Hoosier Friend composed by fellow drummer and Bill Evans sideman, Joe Labarbera.
Live from San Pedro is a great album for lovers of mainstream jazz. As the press release rightly states it “takes a masterly drummer to pick up the mantle of the late, great Oscar Peterson as a leader of outstanding piano, bass and drum trios”. In this case that drummer is Jeff Hamilton however you can’t help but miss that it’s the trio as a whole that impresses on this album. Highly Recommended.
Jeff Hamiliton, Drums | Tamir Hendelman, Piano | Christoph Luty, Double Bass
1. Sybille’s Day | 2. Poinciana | 3. Hammer’s Tones | 4. I Have Dreamed | 5. In Walked Bud | 6. Gina’s Groove | 7. Brush This | 8. Bennissimo | 9. Gary Indiana | 10. Hoosier Friend
Label: Capri Records
Don’t forget to check out our Jazz Piano Trio Spotify playlist. We’ve added “I Have Dreamed” and “Gina’s Groove” to our list of Piano Trio picks. Enjoy!