Twice lucky. You bet!
Cory Weeds & The Jeff Hamilton Trio – Dreamsville – CellarLive CL072216 61:49****
(Cory Weeds – tenor sax; Jeff Hamilton – drums; Christopher Luty – bass; Tamir Hendelman – piano)
That indefatigable Canadian Cory Weeds is at it again. Tenor saxophonist, jazz record label owner and producer, jazz club guide (most recently Chicago/March 2017), Cory Weeds and the Jeff Hamilton Trio have again teamed up for a new release Dreamsville. This is a follow-on to their 2015 successful collaboration This Happy Madness (reviewed here November 1, 2015 ****: This Happy Madness)
The symbiosis between Weeds and the Hamilton Trio is evident from the opening bars of “ Who Can I Turn To” with drummer Hamilton setting the pace with his tasty brush work, and then Weeds picking up the melody with his warm tone, before the tune settles in to a swinging mellow groove.
On any record date, the choice of the material to be presented is the foundation of an enjoyable listening experience. Since Weeds and Hamilton were joint producers of this session, we can thank them for their thoughtful selections. “Lady Wants To Know” written by Michael Franks might not be an obvious choice but it does have an interesting couplet: Daddy’s just like Coltrane/Baby’s just like Miles. In any event the band offers an expressive rendition of the tune with pianist Hendelman elegantly evocative, and Weeds richly textured.
The title track “Dreamsville” was written by Henry Mancini for the TV series Peter Gunn which aired from 1958 to 1961. While the introductory notes of the tune first appeared in Season 1, it wasn’t until Season 2, that the full melody was played as background music to a love scene between the stars Craig Stevens and the glamorous Lola Albright ( who by the way died on March 23,2107 at 92). Played as a mid-tempo ballad, Weeds offers a faultlessly tasteful version of the number, as pianist Hendelman goes about his business with careful restraint.
Pianist Tamir Hendelman was born in Israel but came to the US in 1984. After completing his musical education at Tanglewood and the Eastman School of Music, he has been active on the jazz scene as an integral part of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Jeff Hamilton Trio since 2000, and his own trio. His composition ‘Bennissimo” is happy swinger with Weeds in an audacious mode and Hendelman spiritedly bold with his playing. Hamilton keeps the number moving along and delivers several intense drum breaks.
In 1947, tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet and pianist Sir Charles Thompson wrote “Robbins Nest” naming it after a radio program of the same name, that was hosted by jazz DJ Fred Robbins. The infectious nature of the composition brought an early acceptance as a recognizable jazz standard. The band keeps that spirit alive with a rollicking version, so that everyone grabs a piece of the action, with bassist Luty especially showing his mettle.
This is a terrific sounding quartet as this album demonstrates, and the band might wish to consider some wider touring beyond California and Vancouver BC which preceded the recording of this session in July 2016.
TrackList: Who Can I Turn To; Lady Wants To Know; How Do You Like Them Apples; Blue Daniel; Dreamsville; Hammer’s Tone; Nothing To Lose; Bennissimo; Love Is Now And Then Thing; Robbins Nest; She Walks The Earth