Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Chico Hamilton – Twelve Tones of Love

This album is all about joie de vivre. At 87, Chico Hamilton is happily ensconsed in the jazz pantheon – the percussionist decades ago passsed the point where he had anything left to prove. Yet here he is again, having fun. While this might sound like your typical Sunday afternoon jazz at a distance, or at low volume – and it’s a marvelous choice for a Sunday afternoon – it’s a lot more than that. It’s best experienced on headphones. Hamilton’s stock in trade has always been subtlety and nuance, rare qualities for a percussionist, and as usual he’s not here to jolt anyone out of their socks. But this album is anything but saturnine: it resonates with a confident, gentle warmth.

 

Most of the cuts here aren’t long, clocking in at under four minutes at a clip. Some of them are sketches. Many of them are confidently swaying, slow-to-midtempo swing blues. The rhythm is carried as much here by Paul Ramsey’s Fender Bass as it is by anything else, cutting through the mix with the trebly, slightly oscillating tone common to electric jazz bass around forty years ago. Cary DeNigris plays guitar, giving an absolutely marvelous, spot-on Ernie Ranglin-style chordal feel to the casual hangout number Steinway, anchoring the brief and beautifully lyrical Americana number On the Trail and gently keeping things on the rails while guest George Bohanon’s trombone signifies jauntily on George, a gift of appreciation from Hamilton. The percussionist himself takes a typically understated star turn on several occasions, riding the cymbals with an altered clave beat on the Wes Montgomery-ish Penthouse, spicing the mallets-and-vocals-only Lazy Afternoon and pointedly punctuating the early 70s style latin shuffle Raoul. If this album intrigues you, you can enter to win a free copy courtesy of Giant Step (contest expires May 15, 2009). New York listeners also have a golden opportunity to see him live for free on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 PM (early arrival obviously advised) at Borders Books & Music in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle on the second floor.

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April 29, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment