Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bertha Hope: Nothin’ But Love

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Cover of the Bertha Hope album Nothin' but Love
Cover of the Bertha Hope album Nothin' but Love

Nothin’ but Love, pianist Bertha Hope’s first domestic recording as a leader, is not without its flaws. Hope, a veteran musician in her mid-60s, could be more agile, pianistically speaking. Her attacks sometimes lack the precision expected in this era of technical perfection and she occasionally hesitates or falters slightly mid-phrase. As a result, the music can take on a lumbering quality instead of achieving musical flow. The other members of her trio, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Jimmy Cobb, share culpability for these and the most serious defect: the rhythmic pulse sags now and again.

That said, Nothin’ but Love has equal points in its favor, the first being interesting and unusual repertory. “Stars Over Marrakesh,” a haunting tune written by her husband Elmo (who died in 1967), weaves chromatically with an exotic lyricism. Cedar Walton’s “Ojos de Rojo” saunters by handsomely. Hope, too, shows herself to be a gifted composer with three originals: the angular “Book’s Bok”; “Prayer for Sun Ra,” a tender ballad named for her son; and “Gone to See T,” a tune styled effectively after Thelonious Monk’s work.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published