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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Live in Bern

CAPRI #74139



1.September In The Rain

2. All Through the Night

3. Watch What Happens

4. Soul Eyes

5. This Can't Be Love

6. There'll Be Some Changes Made

7. Sybille's Day

8. Key Largo

9. Woody 'n You

10. The Champ

11. Ballad For Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus Eaters

12. You and the Night and The Music

13. Centerpiece

Scott Hamilton - Tenor Sax

Jeff Hamilton - Drums

Tamir Hendelman - Piano

Christof Luty – Bass

Rec. 18 May, 2014, Bern Switzerland

Patience has paid off for Thomas Burns, President of US based Capri Records. Having been acquainted with Scott and Jeff, two artists who coincidentally share the same surname, for over thirty years, it has been his long-held dream to get them together. Whilst Jeff has recorded frequently for Capri, Scott has been contracted to other labels, and has forged his career mainly in Europe. The golden opportunity came in May 2014 when both musicians were scheduled to play at the International Jazzfestival, Bern. So, what we have here is the Jeff Hamilton Trio joined by Scott Hamilton in an album of swing titled ‘Live in Bern’. This is, in fact, a studio session from 18 May 2014, hence the absence of audience participation, yet with all the intimacy of the club setting.

Nostalgia seems to be the name of the game, and fans of swing will find plenty to savour, much familiar, some not. The results couldn’t be more refreshing. You’d think this line up of artists had been playing together for years, such is the tangible rapport between them. They bring something vital and alive to these numbers, completely revitalizing them. We revisit old friends in September in the Rain, Watch what happens and This can't be love. Then there’s Sybille’s Day, one of Jeff’s own compositions.

If, like me, you’re partial to the saxophone, Scott Hamilton’s rich full bodied timbre, focused tone and instinctive phrasing will perhaps reawaken memories of Ben Webster. Soul Eyes, my favorite track on the disc, is a case in point, showcasing these facets of Scott’s artistry. The smouldering, purring sound he achieves, coupled with the eloquence of his delivery, make this a highlight.

Jeff’s compelling drumming and brush work has a magical quality, that can never be accused of lacking subtlety. He diplays his virtuoso skills to effect in Woody ‘n You, and there’s some spellbinding brushwork in There'll be some changes made . Christof Luty’s sensitive and discreet bass accompaniments add to the success of the mix, and you won’t fail to be won over by the improvisatory skills and rhythmic verve of Tamir Hendelman. His supportive pianissimo tread set against Scott’s shapely, meandering contours in Key Largo has a mesmerizing effect.

Generous on melody and in top class sound and balance, this is surely one of the finest jazz albums I’ve listened to in a while.

Stephen Greenbank

See also review by Tony Augarde

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