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Chico Hamilton: Timely

The strong young players Hamilton employs in his quartet do not override the CD’s strongest point, their leader’s compelling drumming. For all of their vigor, energy and grasp of the hippest aspects of the idiom, nothing they play is more gripping than Hamilton alone on brushes in the introduction and interludes of “Another Time for the Blues.” Modern funk dominates the album. Hamilton’s precision and clarity dominate the funk.

Cary DeNigris contributes a number of interesting guitar solos, one of the most impressive on Hamilton’s “Denise” with the composer behind him performing riveting modifications of samba rhythms. Electric bassist Paul Ramsey is featured on his composition “The Affair,” soprano saxophonist Eric Person in a series of conversational exchanges on Person’s angular “Cheek’s Groove.” Person’s alto solo on “These Are the Dues, Part 2” cooks along over hypnotic bass and guitar patterns and Hamiton’s sparking cymbals. “Malletdonia” may suggest a reprise of Hamilton’s work of the 1950s, but his hypnotic use of mallets is anything but nostalgia.

Originally Published