David Hazeltine is known for his harmonic sophistication and elegant pianism, traits that were also hallmarks of Cedar Walton's playing. When Hazeltine initially set out make what would become his Smoke Sessions release, For All We Know, making a tribute record was the furthest thing from his mind and it should be pointed out that For All We Know is definitely not a tribute record. Yet, it's hard to ignore the importance of Cedar Walton's legacy to it. Hazeltine is one of the important heirs to Walton's piano tradition, so it is only natural that his gratitude and affection would be dominant themes on this recording. It is also a special record because it documents what is essentially the first collaboration between Hazeltine and tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake. It was a partnership that both enjoyed immensely and that worked particularly well with the rest of the quartet, bassist David "Happy" Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth. The album opens with one of Hazeltine's inventive originals, "Et Cedra" which is also one that was overtly written with Walton in mind. In it's melodic twists and turns and it's subtle yet unexpected harmonies, it is quickly apparent why Hazeltine has such a strong following. Other highlights include Kurt Weill's "My Ship" and Hazeltine's obstreperous "Eddie Harris" which gives Blake an opportunity to pay some respects of his own, this time to the funky saxophone master. When For All We Know concludes with "A.D. Bossa," the realization sets in that although jazz has lost some of its greatest talents, there is another generation that is dedicated to keeping the art form vital and alive.
CLAUDINE FRANCOIS / HUBERT DUPONT / HAMID DRAKE - FLYING EAGLE
Claudine Francois is a beautiful pianist, and we love her work on other records – but she sounds especially great here in the company of bassist Hubert Dupont and drummer Hamid Drake – both players who bring a heck of a lot of texture to the session! Dupont's bass is wonderful – often more melodic than rhythm, at a level that's also echoed by Drake's always-creative work on the drum kit – providing these shifting shapes, like different platforms in sound – from which Francois' piano lines take off boldly. Titles include "Flying Eagle", "African Flower", "Nkosi Sikelel Africa", "Scot", "Tapiwa's Vision", and a nice take on Jim Pepper's classic "Witchi Tai To". ~ Dusty Groove
HYUNGJIN CHOI - TALES OF A DREAMER
Hyungjin Choi, a New York based jazz pianist and vocalist, has been making her mark in the city of dreams since 2008. After training as a classical pianist from her early age, Choi graduated from the prestigious Seoul Institute of the Arts in 2006 and moved to New York to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where she earned a BFA degree in performing arts in 2010 with a jazz scholarship and the Noah Osnos scholarship. There, Choi received the finest jazz education from such jazz masters as Sam Yahel, Reggie & Workman, Charles Tolliver, Jimmy Owens, Charlie Persip and Kevin Hays, and also became involved in many projects including that of the great Billy Harper. She has recorded and performed actively in many venues across the United States both as a sideman and a band leader. She has built her skills as both an artist and a performer and now she has released her debut album Tales Of A Dreamer. The album was recorded at Acoustic Recording in Brooklyn on October 2, 2013. Hyungjin’s band is comprised of ascendant trumpeter and composer Takuya Kuroda, alto player Uri Gurvich, award-winning saxophonist Yacine Boulares, drummer and percussionist Alex Wyatt, and bassist Pablo Menares.