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Hotline by Peg Delaney

This is Peg Delaney’s third album and it showcases not only her sophisticated piano playing, but also more of her groove-driven compositions. The album is composed on all original tunes, many drawing heavily on Brazilian and Latin jazz feels. The quartet used fits the style of the pieces well, allowing for a lot of improvisation while still maintaining a steady groove.

"Flame" has a light, airy Latin feel supported by the clave-like drum line. Delaney takes the melody, ending in a crescendo that leads into guitarist Cary DeNigris’s solo. Both DeNigris and Delaney follow the same soloing motif of ascending scalar lines and punctuated chords. The piece ends with a return to the original theme. "Feelin’ Hazy" is a slow blues, with a melody line somewhat reminiscent of "A New York State of Mind". Bassist Gregg August, Delaney’s nephew, does a good job of filling in the gaps between the piano melody and guitar commentary. DeNigris does some good comping working during the solo section as well.

"Crystal Sunrise" is another Latin feel, which features more of DeNigris and August. There’s some good interaction between DeNigris and Delaney again as they trade solo sections. Dynamics are used extensively to create swelling in each phrase and to culminate each solo section. "Lullaby for Jessica" is a waltz with a ¾ feel in 4/4 time. Delaney’s rocking melody is accompanied by DeNigris noodling. Drummer Mike DeMarco does a good job of maintaining the feel, and in changing from the waltz to swing in certain sections.

"Pollinator" begins with Delaney playing an unaccompanied solo that suddenly transfers to a grooving beat. Drums and bass enter and the melody line begins, lively accented. This piece is the most moving and the rhythm section has more energy than the previous tracks, which transfers into Delaney’s solo. "Hotline" is a swinging, comfortably paced bop tune that brings to mind theme songs from some of the old detective movies. Breaks are incorporated into the line similar to those used in blues charts. The melody moves between unison piano and bass lines and the singular piano line. Delaney’s solos are all based on minor blues over the walking bass line, and are vastly different in style than the previous tracks, harkening more to blues than Latin roots.

The last two tracks, "Beloved" and "My Tuna", are reissued from one of Delaney’s previous recordings, The Island Suite. Both are again of Latin feel, very bright and quickly paced. "My Tuna" has more of a salsa-feel, while "Beloved" is more of the lighter, ambient feel of the previous tracks. A horn section has been included to play the melody lines, and a different rhythm section is used.

Overall, the CD is good listening and well done. Delaney’s versatility for several styles is heard, as well as her proficiency as a composer. The group functions well together and there is obviously a lot of communication between musicians. It would have been nice to hear more of August and DeMarco on the whole, especially some more solo work.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Peg Delaney
  • CD Title: Hotline
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Daisyland Music
  • Rating: Four Stars
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