Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Lesser known treasure.
Larkenfield | 03/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I feel lucky to have found this recording, because when I had it on a very lousy vinyl disc years ago I played it to death and considered it one of my Hampton Hawes favorites. It's more of an informal date, but it starts out focused and intense and stays there. I also like that there's something very personal, intimate, and spontaneous going on here, almost as if the listener has the privilege of dropping in on this trio when they were getting together to jam on their own without anyone else around.
At his best, Hampton Hawes had a shimmering quality to his burning right hand blues runs and tremolos. He does them to near perfection here.
As the first recording he did in the early 1970s, Hamp is joined by two congenial colleagues, Leroy Vinnegar and Donald Bailey, and everyone came to play. The trio moves like one person, exploring and stretching themselves musically with mostly original compositions--the whole idea, according to the liner notes.
There were no second takes--there didn't need to be any--and the concentration of the players is total. I love how they move from one section to the next; and it had to be this way, too, because Hamp is continually changing the pace from one feeling and tempo into another in a seamless, on fire, driving way, and if the others aren't paying attention, they'll step all over themselves.
There's not only a nice sense of pace and contrast within each piece, but in the ordering of the tracks, like it's all one composition that transitions smoothly from one into the next, though separate tracks.
Hamp always seemed to play with this tremendous inner fire and heart. There are very few players that create this feeling of both urgency and 'heart'--and that's another reason why I was first drawn to his music. I think his sense of heart is the result of his complete immersion into what he's playing and his dedication to his art. Plus there's a great deal of sincerity, honesty and LOVE that noticeably comes out of him. Rare for any musician, imo.
The sonic quality is not audiophile but still very acceptable, and the piano is well-tuned, which on his trio album with Shelley Mann and Ray Brown, wasn't.
While this is a studio session, I get the feeling that the musicians are very much playing for each other, which makes the session more spontaneous than the typical studio date, with just the pure delight of making music together and sending it out in the universe. The reason I got hooked on this date is that by the end of the musical exploration and catharsis, there's a wonderful sense of emotional upliftment--at least for me.
If you're a dedicated Hampton Hawes fan, consider yourself fortunate to find a copy of this before it's gone, because I have doubts it will be released again soon, as it was not recorded for a major label originally and is one of his lesser known trio releases.
For those who don't already have it, I also recommend The Seance, with Red Mitchell and Donald Bailey. Listen to a true jazz master working both the music and the live audience."