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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Live In London

Concorde Jazz CCD-2172-2

Recorded live at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London, April 2, 2002



    1. Introduction
    2. The Squirrel
    3. When Your Lover Has Gone
    4. When I Fall In Love
    5. Licks
    6. Easter Parade
    7. When You Wish Upon a Star
    8. The Goof and I


Scott Hamilton – Tenor Sax
John Pearce – Piano
Dave Green – Bass
Steve Brown – Drums

When Scott Hamilton hit the jazz scene in the mid 70’s at the age of 22, he found himself to be very much adrift from the jazz trends of the time. To gain acceptance, you had to be into jazz-rock or on a contemporary kick. The market for the genuine jazz product had all but disappeared.

Fortunately for all of us, he was determined to go on playing the music he liked, his style a blend of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Don Byas, Lucky Thomson, Wardell Gray and many more. His break came when trumpeter Roy Eldridge invited him to come to New York, a job with the Benny Goodman Band followed. Once they sat down and listened, it was just amazing how many people preferred Hamilton’s melodic jazz to the over hyped, so-called contemporary jazz they had been listening to. Strange, but it is just even more true today, we now have a generation of jazz musicians, who couldn’t play a ‘straight ahead’ standards set to save their lives!

‘Live in London’ finds Hamilton in excellent company, Dave Green is a world class bass player and in John Pearce and Steve Brown, he has sympathetic musicians who are playing for the band and not just for themselves. The choice of programme is also excellent Tad Dameron’s The Squirrel is not heard often enough and it demonstrates Scott Hamilton’s more than adequate technique. In When Your Lover Has Gone we hear some wonderful piano from John Pearce and some lovely smoky lower register sounds from Scott. When I fall in Love has a dreamy romantic quality and we hear subtle, breathy saxophone playing, a theme which is carried later on into When You Wish Upon a Star.

Licks is a Dave Green composition, but it is more than just a bass feature, it is reminiscent of the records Oscar Pettiford and Lucky Thomson made together in the mid 50’s. Easter Parade demonstrates the quartets’ ability to swing on any tune, although this one could hardly be called jazz standard, they make it sound like it was meant for improvisation. Another influence on Scott Hamilton was Al Cohn, himself a fine tenor sax player, arranger and composer. There can be no doubt that everybody concerned enjoyed this one, it bounds along.

Whatever your taste in jazz I recommend this record to you without reservation it is a wonderful example of melodic jazz, played by master craftsmen. You can hear every chord change, feel the emotions of the musicians as the tunes are played and most of all you can understand and enjoy real jazz.

Another Scott Hamilton record you should not be without is At Last with pianist Gene Harris –Concord CCD 4434.

Don Mather

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