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David Hazeltine

David Hazeltine

Chet Baker convinced a 21-year-old David Hazeltine to pack his bags and move from Milwaukee to New York City. Two years later, Mrs. Hazeltine convinced the pianist to move right back to Milwaukee. “I was married and my wife at the time didn’t-wouldn’t deal with New York,” says a deadpan Hazeltine. “So I did the right thing and got out of town-or the wrong thing, depending on how you look at it.”

Not surprisingly, when Mrs. Hazeltine became the former Mrs. Hazeltine, Mr. Hazeltine beelined it back to New York, where he has lived and played since the early ’90s. A regional presence no more, Hazeltine has since formed several meaningful musical relationships, including especially fruitful ones with tenorman Eric Alexander and elder statesman-drummer Louis Hayes, and slipped gracefully into the international scene. As three recent albums, The Blues Quarters: Volume One (Criss Cross) and The Classic Trio: Volume Two (Sharp 9) under Hazeltine’s leadership, and The Long Haul (Criss Cross), a collaborative effort from the band One for All, certainly attest, Hazeltine belongs.

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