Ken Hatfield

Surrealist Table

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The nylon-string guitar has no more powerful advocate on the current jazz scene than Ken Hatfield, whose virtuosic finger-style technique is matched by an exceptional compositional gift and who succeeds better than most at stretching the boundaries of his instrument while playing and writing music that feels as friendly and naturally straight-ahead as anything by Charlie Byrd or Wes Montgomery. On his fifth album under his own name he leads a trio that includes the very tasteful drummer Jeff Hirschfeld and bassist Hans Glawischnig; the program consists entirely of Hatfield originals written in a variety of styles, all of them lyrical and melodically attractive. Highlights include a lovely jazz waltz entitled "A Demain" and the not-terribly-funky but very fun "Funkissimo," which features some slippery second-line drumming and a fantastic arco bass solo by Glawischnig. Perhaps loveliest of all is the impressionistic "Berceuse," which betrays a deep Ralph Towner influence (and on which Glawischnig's intonation is maybe not quite as exact as it should be). Very highly recommended overall.

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