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Mitch Hampton: Mitch Swings

Backed by bassist Steve La Spina and drummer Billy Hart, Boston-based pianist Mitch Hampton here offers two standards, “Cheek to Cheek” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man,” and six not-so-original “originals,” all played in a highly derivative pastiche of styles seemingly having their central focus around Oscar Peterson but lacking that musician’s cultivated sense of swinging time. While Hampton plays his instrument cleanly and correctly and shows no little familiarity with impressionistic harmony and longtime state-of-the-art right-hand bop figures, there is a persistent feeling throughout this recording that nothing more than his intellect and fingers were involved in the performance of these pieces. One can easily imagine Hampton captivating audiences at intimate supper clubs, where he would no doubt satisfy all reasonable requests with his fetching smile and glib technique, but for straightahead, emotionally driven, creative jazz, seek not here.

Originally Published