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Manhattan Autumn by David Hazeltine

Manhattan Autumn is pianist David Hazeltine's fourteenth album as a leader in just seven years, but there's no evidence that his creativity is anywhere near exhausted. This date, cut with a quartet featuring Eric Alexander's tenor in counterpoint to Hazeltine's piano, is a straight-ahead number that proves there's still a lot of life in the old hard bop framework, and there's room for a lot of new ideas.

Hazeltine's three originals, and one from Alexander, are mixed among standards from Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach, Thelonious Monk and Jimmy Van Heusen, but Hazeltine and his compatriots put an indelibly personal stamp on every track.

Hazeltine is an impressive soloist, with skills that have made him a first call sideman in New York, but perhaps even more impressive is his command in leading from the piano bench. Whether simply comping, leading the way through intriguing shifts of time or working one of his inventive solos around the changes of a song, he's always setting the pace for the quartet, no easy task when the players are of the caliber of those that join him for this session.

Something tells me it won't be long before we hear from Hazeltine again - it never is - but there's plenty of music to absorb and plenty of enjoyment to be had in the meantime on Manhattan Autumn.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: David Hazeltine
  • CD Title: Manhattan Autumn
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Sharp Nine
  • Tracks: A Walk In the Park, Moon River, Blues On The 7, The Look Of Love, On The Marc, Uptown After Dark, Ask Me Now, Nancy (With The Laughing Face)
  • Musicians: David Hazeltine (piano), Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Washington (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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