David Hazeltine & Joe Locke: Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year


Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year


Mutual Admiration Society


Mutual Admiration Society (Sharp Nine 1015-2)

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David Hazeltine (piano), Joe Locke (vibes), Essiet Okun Essiet (bass), Billy Drummond (drums).

Composed by Frank Loesser


Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 14, 1998


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

As the Mutual Admiration Society 2 CD climbs the jazz radio charts, new listeners will hopefully also seek out the first volume released back in 1999. Joe Locke has had fruitful associations with a number of pianistsóKenny Barron, Billy Childs, Frank Kimbrough, Geoff Keezeróbut none more rewarding than with David Hazeltine, who himself has maintained a gratifying long-term musical relationship with saxophonist Eric Alexander. The way Locke and Hazeltine perform "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year" on their first CD together shows how locked in they are both harmonically and in their attention to detail in melodic exposition and in the forming of solos.

The melancholy (check out the lyrics) Frank Loesser ballad comes from the oddly titled, bleak 1944 film noir "Christmas Holiday," but here it's enlivened considerably by a buoyant medium tempo patterned after the 1950 Sarah Vaughan/Miles Davis version. The vibes-piano soundscape is a joy to hear as Locke and Hazeltine gracefully intermingle on the theme. Locke's compelling solo spurts along in cascading fashion from the very start, aided by Hazeltine's highly intuitive accompaniment. Locke's lines are densely packed, but he makes every note meaningful. Hazeltine's improv in contrast is more leisurely developed, very bluesy and swinging in a Wynton Kelly way, and concludes most effectively with some insistently struck two-handed chords. Essiet's bass solo in turn is endearingly lyrical. The polished voicings of the melody on Locke and Hazeltine's return are again enchanting and heartfelt, words that can also describe this track as a whole.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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