David Hazeltine, Blues for Gerry Review


David Hazeltine, Blues for Gerry Review

by Icrom Bigrad

David-Hazeltine-cdBlues for Gerry marks David Hazeltine’s return to the Criss Cross and serves as a homage to Gerry Teekens, the label’s founder.  Hazeltine brings a trio for that date of Hazeltine on piano, Peter Washington on double bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums.

A memorable track to note is “Here Again,” the album’s opener. This composition carries Hazeltine’s unmistakable imprint, featuring a lush harmonic progression and catchy melody. The sophisticated interplay between Hazeltine, Washington, and Farnsworth gives life to the piece, showcasing a level of synchronicity that only seasoned musicians can attain. The trio’s ability to maintain rhythmic clarity amidst high-intensity improvisation is commendable, enhancing the listening experience and demonstrating their masterful control over feel and the energy of the music.

The album’s title track, “Blues for Gerry,” is equally compelling. This homage to Gerry Teekens is a profound expression of Hazeltine’s respect for the blues, the genre that embodies the soul of jazz. Farnsworth’s impeccable hard bop swing combined with Washington’s strong basslines creates a charming rhythmic foundation. Hazeltine’s solo on this track is an exquisite blend of fertile melodic lines and emotionally resonant chords, a testament to his innovative and expressive approach to piano. The synergy of the trio on this piece leaves no doubt about their collective ability to swing and truly embody the spirit of jazz.

In conclusion, Blues for Gerry is an album that all jazz enthusiasts and pianists will find captivating. David Hazeltine’s consummate musicianship, coupled with the dynamism of Washington and Farnsworth, brings us a compelling study in jazz trio performance. It is a successful tribute to a figure who made a significant impact on Hazeltine’s career and the jazz world at large. Furthermore, Blues for Gerry adds to the enduring cannon of the jazz trio format, where interaction, improvisation, and the shared pursuit of a musical vision come to the fore. It’s a swinging, thoughtful, and brilliantly performed set that will inspire repeat listens and surely end up as a highlight in Hazeltine’s extensive discography.

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