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January/February 2005

David Hazeltine
Close to You
Criss Cross Jazz

Not every pianist would consider Burt Bacharach's "Close to You," the 1970 breakthrough hit for the Carpenters, a fitting vehicle for a bebop excursion. David Hazeltine, a longtime Bacharach devotee, uses this unlikely choice as both the title and introductory track of his well-crafted trio recording for Criss Cross. If none of Close to You's other performances have the imaginative quality of the Bacharach revamp, each is marked by Hazeltine's confident improvising and the delicious groove he establishes with Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth, as sturdy a neobop rhythm section as they come. (The bassist, a prime mover throughout, gets his props on the Hazeltine-penned feature "Blues for P. Wash"). Satisfying rather than revelatory, Close to You offers piano trio comfort food.

Originally published in January/February 2005
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