David Hazeltine


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Pianist David Hazeltine's previous albums have elicited comparisons to Oscar Peterson and Cedar Walton. But those whose first exposure to his playing is this trio recording for the Dutch Criss Cross label might walk away thinking more in terms of Bill Evans; for the most part, Hazeltine's playing here is elegantly restrained and quietly romantic, despite a noticeable undercurrent of intense emotion. The original plan was for this album to be a quartet date featuring the very fine saxophonist Eric Alexander, but Alexander had to cancel at the last minute and Hazeltine decided to make the most of the situation with a mixed program of standards and originals in trio arrangements. Bassist Peter Washington is especially impressive here, following Hazeltine with almost telepathic sympathy on a reflective interpretation of "Lush Life" and an interesting uptempo setting of "Love for Sale." Hazeltine himself plays almost impressionistically at times, and his own boppish "Perambulation" and sturdily swinging "This Is for Seamus" are particular highlights on a very enjoyable album. Highly recommended.

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