If Dreams Come True
If Dreams Come True CD (Jeff on piano in solos, duos and trios with guests; Dan Barrett, Bill Carter, Bobby Gordon, Bryan Shaw, Rebecca Kilgore, and Eddie Erickson) 1. Rosetta piano solo 3:00 2. I Surrender Dear Bryan Shaw, trumpet 4:22 3. If I Were You Dan Barrett, trombone Rebecca Kilgore, vocal 3:18 4. Moon Country Bryan Shaw, flugelhorn 3:43 5. I Wished On The Moon Rebecca Kilgore, vocal 4:03 6. No One Can Take Your Place Dan Barrett, trombone 4:51 7. Liza piano solo 3:09 8. My Ideal Rebecca Kilgore, vocal 3:10 9. Don't Be That Way Dan Barrett, cornet 3:46 10. Here's That Rainy Day Dan Barrett, trombone 4:35 11. What Is This Thing Called Love? Bobby Gordon, clarinet 4:05 12. Charmaine Bobby Gordon, clarinet 4:00 13. Blues Bill Carter, clarinet 5:07 14. If Dreams Come True Rebecca Kilgore, vocal Bobby Gordon, clarinet 5:08 15. Till There Was You Eddie Erickson, vocal Dan Barrett, trombone 5:00 16. My Silent Love Bobby Gordon, clarinet 4:05 17. Exactly Like You Bill Carter, clarinet 4:01 18. Isle Of Capri Bill Carter, clarinet 5:09 Total Time: 71:32 If Dreams Come True booklet review by Ray Skjelbred When I first met Jeff Hamilton in the late 1970's, he was busy absorbing the human condition with a sense of humor. He didn't take himself too seriously and spent most of his time laughing and having fun with his friends, sometimes hitting line drives in softball When I first met Jeffgames, sometimes windsurfing or sailing and sometimes playing music. In those days (and today as well) the jazz world mostly knew Jeff as a wonderful drummer, someone who listened well and played with skill and taste. Sometimes he also played trombone and occasionally I would hear him play a short burst of inspiration on the piano, never for long, but always beautifully done. It was kind of a secret art that mostly other musicians knew about, something that Jeff liked to do for personal reasons, not public acclaim. During the years since then, more and more people have become aware of Jeff's fine piano work and this CD, at last, demonstrates his strong, sensitive approach to playing the piano. However, many other things in Jeff's life haven't changed very much. He still likes to laugh and have fun with his friends and he still enjoys the absurdities of daily life, but he has made a wonderful CD because he also believes in beautiful melodies and chords that are layered over a strong, subtle rhythm. And if he doesn't take himself too seriously, he is serious about the art of playing music and recording for the right reasons. He doesn't think of this as "performing." He's gathering together some friends whose music he loves and he wants to share that sense of camaraderie and commitment to beauty. That's it. That's the reason for playing. And I agree. Don't show off. Don't try to sell something to anyone. If you believe in what you are doing, if you do it for truth and beauty, and enough people like it as is, you just keep going and the art itself is the entertainment. You don't need any more. Jeff seems to love the processes of life and he involves himself with music the way he involves himself with travel and adventure. He is a paraglider pilot, he has done ultralight flying, and in his sailing he has raced Hobie Cats and was ranked 7th nationally and 11th in the world. It's the process, fun and adventure that matter, whether we are considering a daring sport or daring music. On this CD Jeff plays two solos, Liza (Gershwin) and Rosetta and also slides into partnerships with many musical friends who are not only his companions, but musicians of the highest order in the world of swing and jazz music. Bryan Shaw, at whose Digital Brothers studio they recorded, joins Jeff on trumpet and flugelhorn, Dan Barrett plays both trombone and trumpet, Rebecca Kilgore sings on four tracks and Eddie Erickson on another. Jeff's step-father Bill Carter and Bobby Gordon take turns on seven track between them on clarinet. It's like taking in an old "Big Broadcast" film, where one act after another keeps appearing to delight the audience with surprises. The material is rich in melody and harmony and Jeff keeps moving from one chord to another with an ear for beautiful voicing and chord inversions, as well as being aware of open spaces that make beautiful, true music. You can hear this in Liza, where the upward moving chords change every two beats and in Rosetta, where Jeff takes many routes to travel the predictable journey between the F and D7 chords-the changes that shape the song. The small group selections include some classic beauties of American popular song and illustrate Jeff's careful listening and his attention to the role of accompanist. On Here's That Rainy Day, I keep hearing a lush web of harmony that reminds me of Bill Evans. Mix that with the trombone of Dan Barrett and you have a quiet masterpiece. Rebecca Kilgore's My Ideal is one of those lovely and delicate vocals where every good pianist knows that the mere act of touching the keys seems almost too loud, no matter how softly he plays, and yet Jeff does it right and with a perfect combination of leading and following the voice that is the heart of the subtle art of accompanying a singer. He provides the same assured underpinning on Eddie Erickson's vocal Till There Was You. One of my favorites is Moon Country, a song I have always loved, that pulls together Hoagy Carmichael's quirky mix of a deceptively simple folk-like melody and exotic, unpredictable chords. Bryan Shaw (on flugelhorn) and Jeff discover all the sweet hiding places in this pop song masterpiece. And Jeff can play the blues, which for me is always the starting point for seeing if you have "it" inside you. Listen to the rumbling, dark chords on B.C. Blues he plays with Bill Carter. That's a good family combination. We get several good tracks with the introspective and lyrical Bobby Gordon, whom I played with for years in The Roadrunners. Bobby draws inspiration from wonderful clarinetists like Joe Marsala, Pee Wee Russell and Jimmy Noone. It is a path few others have explored and his sound is always gentle and at least partly absorbing of life's potential for tragedy. I especially like My Silent Love, another great pop song with leaping melodic intervals and a lovely knot of chords underneath. Actually it is similar to a song I once wrote called Mice Island Love. There are, naturally, many other delightful musical treasures on this recording and I'm sure the thoughtful listener will find them, but it might be worthwhile to think about this CD in relation to the enormous world of music and the many possible listening formats available in an era of quick changes, technological revolutions and commercial entertainers, all mixed up in a world of disposable culture that loves the golden oldies of last week. Well, when Humphrey Bogart said in "Casablanca" that the desires of a few people in this world "don't amount to a hill of beans," maybe he was right and that's not such a bad thing. The world will spin along on it's troubled or untroubled course, no matter what we do. Maybe we never succeed or fail and it doesn't matter. Maybe this recording won't be a hit (choosing to play thoughtful jazz and having ambition for any kind of stardom is an oxymoronic proposition), but this recording will tell you something true of Jeff Hamilton's spiritual nature, his truest self, and how he offers it to you. It's not a tribute to a kind of music or a composer or famous name in jazz. It's just Jeff and friends playing together as friends. And the "just" is a big one. Jeff Hamilton has always been popular with his peers. His humor, self-effacing nature and tasteful musicianship keep him in demand. He is currently playing drums with The Grand Dominion Jazz Band and is a frequent invitee to a variety of jazz festivals, parties and recordings. Of course I remember him in some other settings too. Once long ago, exhausted from a long weekend of something, we were sitting around, clipping out strangely humorous lines from a stack of old Prevention magazines, an eccentric health publication with a penchant for creating unintentionally outrageous statements. Maybe we read them aloud or maybe we made collages; I can't quite remember. But Jeff found a good quotation from a Dr. Hodge who said, "I thought I'd take another whack at anesthesiology," a perfect line, and as funny today as the moment it caused us to break up with laughter long ago. I have no doubt that Jeff's good piano playing has something to do with his curiosity about Dr. Hodge's career. Jeff gets the joke and he has fun with it. And here he is, with Bryan Shaw, Dan Barrett, Rebecca Kilgore, Bill Carter, Bobby Gordon and Eddie Erickson, sharing "it" with you-and for all the right reasons. ~ Ray Skjelbred Ray Skjelbred has always been an inspiration to me, in many mediums... baseball, old movies, jazz, words... Not only is his viewpoint on life refreshing, his piano playing has always brought a big smile to my face! Somehow, while imparting his joyous rhythm to all who listen, he is also able to play the important notes, and leave out all of the others! He is also a wonderful poet. I consider Ray, a..."real pianist". Thanks, Ray. ~ Jeff Hamilton.