A lovely benefit of living in the Hancock Park area? Hearing world-class jazz in the sumptuous surrounds of the Lounge at the Ebell of Los Angeles, right here on Wilshire Boulevard.
Following last year’s sold out performance of the Tamir Hendelman Trio, this year the renowned Jeff Hamilton Trio will perform at the Ebell on Friday, January 17th.
The Jeff Hamilton Trio consists of Hamilton on drums, the return of Tamir Hendelman on piano, and Christopher Luty on bass. The band, in its 13th year, is a combination “of like minds, together for a common goal of what the trio can produce musically,” says Hamilton.
Hamilton, voted the #1 Jazz Drummer in Modern Drummer Magazine’s Reader’s Poll, points out, “A lot of piano trios are the piano player out front, with the bass player and the drummer sweeping up behind the piano. My trio has three equal parts. All parts are needed at all times. We’re always aware of everybody on the bandstand.”
The Trio’s new CD is called “Great American Songs.” Hamilton says, “We like to put our own take on arrangements of the Great American Songbook. Ray Brown, one of my bandleaders and mentors, a father figure and best friend for 18 years, taught me that if you’re going to play someone else’s material, make sure you put a new dress on it. You can recognize the tune but get to see that it’s our take on the song.”
Hamilton got his start on the high-end of the jazz circuit at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976, where he played with Monty Alexander and John Clayton. “It was pretty phenomenal, coming from Richmond, Indiana and playing in the Alps with an audience so in touch with the music.”
Other career highlights, he says, “include playing with people I set out to play with, like Oscar Peterson. The first night on the bandstand with Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown at the Hollywood Bowl, July 7, 1990, there was the realization that every note was important and 100% was given to every beat, even on the ballads. Nothing had ever quite felt like that musically before.”
Hamilton performed numerous times with Ella Fitzgerald, whom he calls “fantastic to play with. She was always to me the eternal 16-year-old, naïve, very humble vocalist who would always ask every night, ‘Was that okay, fellows?’ And you’re backstage going, ‘Are you kidding? You’re Ella Fitzgerald!’”
These artists, as well as Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton and others, contributed to Hamilton’s growth as an artist. “I learned from the great Woody Herman how to let the band evolve and let the players become what they’re going to become – with some guidance, but just letting them grow. From Lionel Hampton I learned the love of being on the stage – you couldn’t get him off. He would play all night and wear the band out, but he’d still be going on like the Eveready bunny. They made me feel like I belonged, so that was very rewarding.”The Jeff Hamilton Trio The Lounge at the Ebell of Los Angeles Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00.
For tickets, visit ebelleventtickets.com or call 323-931-1277, ext. 131.
Contributed by Laura Foti Cohen, Member of the Ebell of Los Angeles