DAVID HAZELTINE — Blues For Gerry (review)

DAVID HAZELTINE — Blues For Gerry album cover Album · 2023 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
With the hutzpa of a brilliant polychord on a perfectly tuned Steinway and the elegance of a gently whispered standard melody, David Hazeltine steps back into the limelight with his latest gem, "Blues for Gerry." This album is a creative journey and a nostalgic trip down the Criss Cross memory lane, marking Hazeltine's first venture as a leader with the label in over a decade. The spirit of Gerry Teekens, Criss Cross' original founder, resonates in each measure, subtly tracing the evocative, rhythmic undertones this album delivers.

This compelling set of music, recorded in a whirlwind six-hour session, brings together the genius of modern jazz luminaries - Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth - conjuring a magnetic synergy throughout the album. It's like savoring a rich blend of vintage wine, each track bearing its unique flavor yet still reflecting the distinct Criss Cross signature. By revisiting the essential "blues" that Gerry Sr. loved so dearly, Hazeltine crafts an intimate tribute that is as much about the past as it is about the future of jazz. So, sit back, tune in, and let the vibrant echoes of Hazeltine's piano, Washington's double bass, and Farnsworth's drums serenade your senses. Class is in session, folks - and the subject is "Blues for Gerry."

"Here Again," a dynamic Hazeltine opener that quenches your thirst for swing with the trio's elastic execution, is a track that serves as a tone-setting beacon, priming your ears for the sonic discoveries that lie ahead.

Hazeltine's interpretation of "Tangerine" is an instant stand-out, his masterful arrangement infusing the standard with an irresistible Latin flair. His chord voicings here are a veritable work of beauty, expertly sprinkled across the canvas of the rhythm section, painting a vibrant, pulsating picture.

The eponymous "Blues for Gerry" and "Firm Roots" dial the swing-o-meter back up, featuring a rich tempo spectrum that offers a delightful dance between the medium and the up-tempo. Again, Washington and Farnsworth prove themselves a formidable swing machine, supplying a steady, infectious rhythm that Hazeltine adorns with his polished lines and syncopation.

Midway through the album, we traverse the familiar terrain of "Body and Soul," "It Could Happen to You," and "Skylark," standards that have been visited and revisited countless times in jazz history. However, the trio breathes fresh life into these oft-trodden harmonic footprints. Hazeltine leads the charge, his inventive approach to harmony offering a refreshing outlook that frames these standards in an entirely new light. It's like revisiting a beloved book, only to discover that new chapters have been added. These performances are the album's heart, marking a memorable juncture in this real jazz musical journey.

As we round off this melodious journey through "Blues for Gerry," it becomes increasingly clear that Hazeltine has, once again, penned a radiant chapter in the narrative of jazz. This album doesn't just pay homage to the genre's roots and points towards its promising future. The potent collaboration with Washington and Farnsworth has given rise to a body of work that dances deftly on the delicate edge of tradition and innovation.

Suppose there's one truth to be gleaned from Hazeltine's latest opus. In that case, it's the reaffirmation of the pianist's exceptional ability to fuse swing, harmonic complexity, and emotional authenticity in a single, seamless, musical breath. In a world that can sometimes feel devoid of swing, "Blues for Gerry" offers a much-needed swing infusion, a record that makes you tap your foot, nod your head, and let the blues sway your spirit. Class is dismissed, but the music continues.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Up High, Down Low Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from MMA partners
Estrellero Post Bop
Buy this album from MMA partners
Shades Of Rainbow Post Bop
Buy this album from MMA partners
Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Dave Rempis : Lip Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

js· 1 day ago
Harold López-Nussa - Funky (Official Video)
snobb· 1 day ago
Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra - Nyjah's Theme (2020)
snobb· 2 days ago
I've Got A Feeling For You
snobb· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us