February 2012 is already shaping up into a jazz month with Jeff Hamilton Trio leading the way. The trio’s February release, Red Sparkle offers melodic jazz played seamlessly on piano (Tamir Hendelman), double bass (Christoph Luty) and kit drums (Jeff Hamilton). While there are no Coltrane or Davis covers on this recording, anyone who enjoys listening to those artists will feel equally at home listening to Red Sparkle. Certainly we are treated to jazz nostalgia with the classics Laura, Sleepin’ Bee, and Too Marvelous for Words. And we are treated to a familiar rock song from ages ago, Stephen Bishop’s On and On, gone jazz of course.
The album opens on an upbeat tempo with a Hamilton original Ain’t That A Peach and then drives harder on Thelonious Monk’s Bye Ya. But these musicians aren’t going anywhere because they’ve just begun. The musicians perform a heavily nuanced version of Bishop’s nostalgic song, then break out into wild man jazz on Too Marvelous for Words, where the musicians swing hard, taking quick turns at the spotlight. However, having said that, it’s difficult to tell where each instrument ends and the next one begins because these musicians play as one unit. This is one of the best musical marriages I’ve come across in years and a real joyful listen.
For anyone who enjoys old-style jazz, let Red Sparkle act as your musical Valentine for this jazzy February.