Scott Hamilton – Nocturnes and Serenades

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Since his debut album, released to considerable critical acclaim in 1977 on Concord Jazz, Scott Hamilton (b. 1954) has established himself as one our foremost tenor saxophone balladeers, one with a keen ear for indelible first-rate tunes. With Nocturnes and Serenades, his forty-first Concord Jazz disc as a leader or co-leader, Hamilton’s balladry takes center stage, and with sublime results. Eight of the ten performances herein are ballads (the medium-tempo exceptions are “Flamingo” and “By the River Sainte Marie”), and Hamilton’s aged-in-oaken-casks approach has never been warmer or more full-bodied. Now residing in England, the Providence, RI native is backed by his regular touring rhythm section; their empathetic support is at once unobtrusive and in-the-moment. Early in his career it was observed that Hamilton’s sound and conception channeled those of giants Ben Webster and Zoot Sims. But on Nocturnes and Serenades it’s the soul of Scott Hamilton that comes to the fore. And he builds a “Chelsea Bridge” that is every bit on a scale with that of Webster, its previous master architect (Editorial Reviews).

AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.:
The black-and-white cover photo of a neon-lit street harks back to an earlier era on Scott Hamilton’s Nocturnes & Serenades. Depending on the viewer, it may conjure up images of the jazz clubs lining the street in 1940s New York, or perhaps classic film noir. Either way, the photo and title promise the kind of lazy, romantic jazz that pours from tiny, smoke-filled rooms at three a.m. to an audience of three. This isn’t surprising, due to tenor Hamilton’s rep as a committed neo-traditionalist. The 55-minute set kicks off with a fine, relaxed take on “Man with a Horn,” with Hamilton’s resonant, silky sax work outlining the contours of the piece. Hamilton is joined on Nocturnes & Serenades by pianist John Pearce, bassist Dave Green, and drummer Steve Brown. Pearce and Hamilton’s gentle styles mingle well on “Man with a Horn” and on the follow-up, “Autumn Nocturne,” while Green and Brown anchor the mellow pacing. With perhaps one exception (“By the River Sainte Marie”), Hamilton and his bandmates maintain a dreamy, late-night groove. Save for the recording technology, this could’ve been recorded in the ’40s, and mainstream jazz fans, well aware of Hamilton’s work, will appreciate Nocturnes & Serenades’ connection with the past (https://goo.gl/eWS27R).

Track listing:
1 Man With A Horn 5:14
2 Autumn Nocturne 4:39
3 Flamingo 7:33
4 I’m Glad There Is You 4:35
5 Serenade In Blue 4:26
6 Isn’t It A Pity 6:14
7 You Go To My Head 6:38
8 Chelsea Bridge 4:29
9 By The River Sainte Marie 6:16
10 A Portrait Of Jenny 4:57

Personnel:

  • Dave Green – bass
  • John Pearce – piano
  • Scott Hamilton – tenor saxophone
  • Steve Brown – drums

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Released: August 1, 2006
Duration: 55:23
Recorded:February 14, 2005 – March 18, 2005
Recording Location:
The Studio, Farnham, Surrey, England

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