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Jeff Hamilton Trio: Great American Songs Through the Years

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For those who might think the great tradition of crisply arranged, deeply swinging piano trios ended with the passing of Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown, there is good news in the form of drummer Jeff Hamilton’s latest recording with his highly accomplished colleagues Tamir Hendelman on piano and Christoph Luty on bass. All three are members of L.A.’s celebrated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which Hamilton cofounded with brothers John and Jeff Clayton. His playing and sensibilities reflect the influence of the greats with whom he’s played, especially sultans of swing like Peterson, Brown, Woody Herman and Monty Alexander.

The “great American songs” of the title include gems by Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter, Mercer and Van Heusen. There are enough fastidious, occasionally jaw-dropping brush fills to leave no doubt as to the identity of the leader. Even so, Hamilton provides generous opportunities for his colleagues to strut their stuff.

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