CHICO HAMILTON — Chico Hamilton Trio Introducing Freddy Gambrell

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CHICO HAMILTON - Chico Hamilton Trio Introducing Freddy Gambrell cover
4.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 1958

Filed under Hard Bop
By CHICO HAMILTON

Tracklist

A1 Lullaby Of The Leaves 5:45
A2 Reservation Blues 4:51
A3 These Foolish Things 4:07
A4 Ex-Ray`s Friends 4:06
B1 Devil`s Demise 5:37
B2 You`re The Cream In My Coffee 4:16
B3 Midnight Sun 4:40
B4 Five Minutes More 3:06

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Ben Tucker
Drums – Chico Hamilton
Piano – Freddie Gambrell

About this release

World Pacific Records ‎– PJ-1242 (US)

Recorded March 24, 25 1958

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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CHICO HAMILTON CHICO HAMILTON TRIO INTRODUCING FREDDY GAMBRELL reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Freddie Gambrell is another pianist you can file under the tag, ‘one of the best piano players you never heard of.’. The reason you probably never heard of him is that he only recorded three albums, and the best of those three, “Chico Hamilton Presents Freddie Gambrell”, shows up in the Chico Hamilton discography, not Gambrell‘s. The best way I can introduce Freddie is to describe how I found his playing. I was listening to a 5 CD collection of Chico Hamilton music from the late 50s on random shuffle when I noticed this rather odd and attention grabbing pianist would show up occasionally. His playing was rooted in hard bop, but there were these weird surprises and unexpected jumps in his solos. All of this was reminding me of Herbie Nichols or Jaki Byard, but this guy was obviously neither of them. I didn’t even think that Chico ever worked with a pianist, but upon checking the CD package I see there is this one album with pianist Freddie Gambrell, someone I was not familiar with at all, so I wanted to find out more.

Apparently after recording this one album with Chico in 1958, Freddie released two more in 1959, with neither making much of an impact and although he worked regularly in San Francisco for the rest of his life, both as a pianist and big band leader, you can not find much more information about him than that. So really, the best of Freddie’s lasting legacy is just this one album with Hamilton. The style on here is west coast hard bop, in other words somewhat laid back. Chico and bassist Ben Tucker provide a rhythmic pocket for Gambrell but not much else. There is little interplay between the players and no bass or drum solos either, this is very much a Gambrell solo act. Freddie’s playing is rooted in the pre-Bill Evans school of Art Tatum and Erroll Garner, with a lot of blues thrown in as well. Then there are his unique excursions that can go anywhere unpredictably, this is what grabbed my attention about this guy in the first place, and its what continues to get my attention anytime I give him a listen. If you like any of the other pianists I referenced in this review, or other slightly off-kilter players like Monk or Ellington, then give Gambrell a try. This is one jazz musician who should be better known.

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