Scott Hamilton: Memories of You


Memories of You


Scott Hamilton (tenor sax)


Across the Tracks (Concord 30388)

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Scott Hamilton (tenor sax),

Duke Robillard (guitar), Gene Ludwig (organ), Chuck Riggs (drums)


Composed by Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, no date given (CD released in 2008)


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

When Scott Hamilton arrived in New York in 1976, he stood out as a jazz anachronism, an exponent of 1930s tenor sax stylings lost in a post-Coltrane universe. Nowadays, retro is the rage, and Hamilton hardly seems so out-of-touch. In the meantime, the tenorist has (slightly) modernized his sound, adding layers of "Four Brothers" cool on top of his prewar aesthetic. In other words, his approach to the sax has moved from a 1937 mindset to a more up-to-date 1947-ish attitude. At this rate, Hamilton may embrace Ornette's harmolodics if he lives to be 150.

But what draws me to this artist is not his allegiance (or disavowal) of musical fads and fashions. Hamilton gets my attention by his skill as a soloist. Give him eight choruses, or just eight bars . . . either way, he will fill 'em up with something choice and tasty. He takes this ancient Eubie Blake song, which often collapses into a rickety oom-pah, oom-pah two-beat disaster, and makes it sound sleek and cool. Heck, this tune is even more old fashioned than Hamilton himself. But when you play the songs this well, you can tear up their birth certificates because music like this is timeless.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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