Contemporary Jazz

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Hamilton's Road To Rosie

19 NOV 09 JONATHAN WIDRAN

Considering the impact Scott Hamilton's swinging tenor has had on the traditional jazz world over the past 30 years, perhaps it was prophetic that the first Concord record he played on was Rosemary Clooney's 1977 date Everything's Coming Up Rosie. That same joyful spirit drove the graceful, sensual vibe of the saxman's 1997 holiday date Christmas Love Song, which the label repackaged in 2000 with the even more appropriate title Late Night Christmas Eve: Romantic Sax With Strings.

While most of his easy flowing versions of perennials like "White Christmas," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Winter Wonderland" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" are designed as lovely romantic background music, he gets a more festive party started on the high spirited, improvisation heavy "Bell Carol Blues."

Hamilton's history is worth another look. When the Providence, RI, native first emerged, his Golden Age sound and classic style -- which drew from the Ben Webster-Coleman Hawkins tradition -- was a far cry from the technique driven but emotionally empty fusion of the time, and caught the ear of jazz fans and many important hipsters alike. One of these, legendary drummer Jake Hanna, introduced the saxman to Concord founder Carl Jefferson, who hired Hamilton him for Clooney's album, launching one of the greatest artist-label relationships in modern jazz.

Hamilton appeared on 18 more of Clooney's recordings and, beginning with his 1977 debut, the cleverly titled Scott Hamilton Is A Good Wind Who Is Blowing Us No Ill, has amassed a thriving catalog of nearly 40 recordings.

in this playlist.



Jeff Lorber - Hacienda