Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu
When it comes to jazz, I fully admit that I am an extremist: I mean, one of my current fave-rave groups is an avant-soul-Dixieland quartet called Mostly Other People Do the Killing. And yet, unlike the tea-sipping lunatics currently chained to the gates of our government, I believe this genre has ample room for every kind of derivation. This is why A Place For Jazz’s first concert could be electrifying while its second offering – featuring the Jeff Hamilton Trio – never went beyond pleasant (at least for me)… and BOTH shows delighted a nearly-full house at the Whisperdome, with each group taking a standing ovation home with them.
Like the aforementioned Joe Magnarelli/Jerry Weldon blowout, the Hamilton Trio gig could also have been called “a gathering of friends,” except the meeting place for these friends was quite different. “I see some familiar faces from the Jazz Cruise,” Hamilton told the crowd after the former sideman for Ray Brown and Oscar Peterson finished his first number. Hamilton added wryly, “But I almost didn’t recognize you because we’re not weaving!” One hopes that comment was related to the ship’s stability instead of any visits to the punch bowl the audience members might have taken.