In 1977, Scott Hamilton decamped to New York while joining the Concord label, playing behind Rosemary Clooney for 15 years and 15 albums, but he also began his solo/leader career then as well and has issued…well, I know this disc, Remembering Billie, puts the count at over 40, so don't ask me to render an accurate number, my math skills are greatly wanting. Hamilton conducts his exemplary chops in a consummately mellow tone bringing back Ben Webster, Zoot Sims, and others from an era when romance was big and flurries of finesse were not very much a matter of importance. Underscoring that, Remembering is taken from the Holiday catalogue when the Queen of the Blues was in happier days and happier ways, when even the really blue numbers, such as Good Morning Heartache, had much more the element of hopefulness than would later be the case.
Duke Robillard has been friends with Hamilton for four decades and produced this Blue Duchess release, playing acoustic archtop on two selections, but don't expect too much of the Duke's ilk of early rock or uptempo jazz in this collection, not with so croony a saxophone as Hamilton wields. Them There Eyes zips about, hotfooting on the dance floor, Hamilton's tone shifting to a bass clarinetty approach, and it's not the only boppin' swing song, but there's much more layback than heat here. Regardless, the sound Hamilton produces is pure and azure-sweet. Many estimables have readily played beside or hired him: Eddie Vinson, Lou Donaldson, Ray Brown, Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, and quite a lengthy list beyond that, and this is music for lovers more than just lovers of music, so come to the nightclub with a yearning and a lazy smile, and you just might go away with a favored someone on your arm.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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