Scott Hamilton and Friends: Blues, Bop and Ballads

Blues, Bop & Ballads is Hamilton’s 36th Concord recording, and it’s arguably one of his strongest to date. Instead of being heard in a quartet, this time around he is featured with groups ranging from a quintet to a seven-piece band. The rhythm section (comprised of pianist Norman Simmons, bassist Dennis Irvin, and Chuck Riggs, who played in the first Hamilton band in 1977, is comfortable, swinging, and tasteful.

From Ike Quebec’s “Blue Harlem” to Thelonious Monk’s “I Mean You” to standards like “Skylark”, tenor saxophonist Hamilton and his group make these tunes their own. The album is first class all the way and includes jazz standards played straight, with some fine solos, and as always Hamilton’s signature warm tone.