Don’t let the surnames fool you. Saxophonist Scott Hamilton and drummer
Jeff Hamilton are brothers only in spirit. They come together for their
first recording, Live in Bern (Capri Records, 2015). Billed as
Scott Hamilton and the Jeff Hamilton Trio, the ensemble is completed by
Tamir Hendelman, piano; and Christof Luty, bass.
The set was recorded in a compact session at Marian’s Jazzroom as part
of the International Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland.
The title, “September in the Rain,” may seem like a soggy beginning to
fall. But there’s nothing soggy about this delightful tune. The tenor
leads in a playful, bouncy manner. Scott Hamilton carries the lead most
of the way. After Hendlemen gets a moment to stretch out, Jeff Hamilton
bridges the solo with a return to the melody. The final pass maintains
the festive nature of the rest of the song, but is played softly.
The ensemble takes a similar approach to Richard Rogers’ “This Can’t Be
Love.” One of the nice things about this set is one can hear all
instruments cleanly. Even when the focus is on the melody or the
soloist, the other players leave an impression. This is especially true
of contributions by Hendelman and Luty.
“The Champ” is a snazzy, jazzy piece. The fast tempo and straightforward
melody is a throwback to the time when jazz was America’s dance music.
It’s the kind of music that inspires audiences to get to their feet and
move to the beat.
Jeff Hamilton has done many recordings with the Jeff Hamilton Trio and
as co-leader of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Capri Records
President Thomas Burns says pairing the trio with Scott Hamilton has
been a long-time dream.