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October 1999

Jimmy Hamilton
Can't Help Swingin'
Prestige

Jimmy Hamilton was a more modern stylist, remembered as the clarinetist who replaced Barney Bigard in Ellington's band. He was also an excellent tenor, and is heard as much on the bigger horn on these sessions, originally It's About Time and Can't Help Swingin'. It's nice to hear his tenor work, which is less familiar, at length, but his clarinet is arresting. There are very few who play a comparable modernized swing style on the instrument. The first session features Clark Terry and Britt Woodman in the front line, near-perfect accomplices for the warm, bluesy blowing here. Hamilton stretches out in a quartet for the second session. Tommy Flanagan's keyboard elegance contributes greatly to both dates. Strongly recommended, particularly to clarinet fans.

Originally published in October 1999
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