Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jeff Hamilton – “Time Passes On”

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Drummer par excellence Jeff Hamilton and record and documentary film producer, Graham Carter, are once again doing great things for Jazz.

This time the gift-in-question is Time Passes On which was released on October 9, 2012 on Graham’s JazzedMedia label [CD JM 1059].

Made in conjunction with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble which is under the direction of Bob Lark, Times Passes On is “a dynamic, swinging set of big band arrangements recorded “live” in concert at Chicago’s legendary Jazz Showcase.”

Graham’s press release goes on to say:

“- A dynamic, swinging set of big band arrangements recorded "live" in concert at Chicago's legendary Jazz Showcase. The intensity and brilliant performance of drummer/composer Jeff Hamilton and the DePaul Jazz Ensemble is beautifully captured, with the audience at the venerable jazz club adding to the electricity and excitement of the moment.

- Jeff Hamilton is featured as performer and composer with the critically acclaimed DePaul University Jazz Ensemble. Student trumpet soloist Marquis Hill (2012 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation contest winner) tenor saxophone soloist Rocky Yera (Chicago Union League Jazz Improvisation Contest winner), and arrangers Joseph Clark (DownBeat magazine DeeBee Award) and Thomas Matta (DownBeat award winner) are especially notable.

- Beautifully crafted arrangements from DePaul students, faculty and alumni includes tunes from the Great American Songbook (Shiny Stockings, The Days Of Wine And Roses, Back Home Again In Indiana, Nature Boy), original tunes by Jeff Hamilton (Samba de Martelo & Time Passes On), and members of the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble (Suggestions & Baby Steps).

Order information – www.jazzedmedia.com

The venerable Jazz author, Dr. Herb Wong, had this to say about the recording in his insert notes.

© -Dr. Herb Wong/Jazzed Media, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

TIME PASSES ON - Jeff Hamilton with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble Bob Lark, Director

"One more once" is a signature shout associated with Count Basic, but it could be a jubilant request for an encore by the top drawer DePaul University Jazz Ensemble. Its latest CD, "Time Passes On" features guest soloist, jazz drummer extraordinaire, Jeff Hamilton.

The philosophy and ideational ap­proach of perpetuating the predictable practice of numerous college jazz ensem­bles is unfortunate since they subscribe to prosaic sameness. DePaul Jazz Ensemble, on the other hand, expects the unex­pected. Its program of improvisation and unmitigated swing is a welcome relief.

The DePaul Jazz Ensemble has reached a point of significant musical art, spirit, and mastery of musical craft. There is strong unity of curricular imagination and technique in prep and in performance.

Under Bob Lark's excellent leadership and teaching agenda, there lies a program of behavioral assets. Among the many here are the representative samplings:
•   Heavy weight given to improvisation
•   Copious listening to professional recordings
•   Focus on nuances of style
•   Length of notes, especially high notes, longer/louder as per content within a given shape of a phrase
•   Go through a lot of literature
•   Listening across the band - left to right, front to back
•   Need to determine what instruments must be in the foreground. If piano solos, saxes and brass understated re­gardless of printed dynamic markings
•   Cultivation of reed players

All of the above ingredients/key ele­ments are operational and instructional regimes. The effects/results are evident in the Lark directorship of DePaul Jazz En­semble s engaging past, present and future.

A vital part of its curriculum is the rewarding contributions of guest solo­ists/jazz educators. A number of these prominent icons include: Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, et al.

The remarkable master guest appearing on this CD is the notable Jeff Hamilton whose star bright credentials include nu­merous historical figures and a wide breath of contents/formats. Jeff comments, "There are many good college jazz bands today because of jazz education, but this band has a mature and professional feel about it - it has a lot to do with the personality of the leader - you and I remember and know when I was in Woody's band. Every big band has the personality of the leader. Bob Lark runs the band with a loose feel - that filters down through the band so it's easy to come in with this band right off the bat -they've been trained to do that.

I’m honored that my compositions were worthy to record and have others play and record my tunes with a band totally unrelated to me. Likewise, it was an honor to have a tune of mine as the title of the CD.”

Here’s an audio-only sampling of the music on Time Passes On as Jeff and the Depaul University Jazz Ensemble take on Miles Davis’ original – The Serpent Tooth.