Chico Hamilton Quintet / Chico Hamilton

Three Faces of Chico

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A fine showcase for Chico Hamilton as a triple-threat artist: drummer extraordinaire ("Miss Movement," "Trinkets," etc.), vocalist ("She's Funny That Way," "The Best Things in Life Are Free," "Where or When"), and, of course, leader. His vocals are reminiscent of Nat King Cole, with subtleties all his own, and his drumming is just as impressive amid its own set of superlatives, many of which are shown off on the Hamilton originals "Happy Little Dance" and "Trinkets." The other members of the group, Wyatt Ruther (bass), Eric Dolphy (flute, reeds), Dennis Budimer (guitar), and Nathan Gershman (cello), get their own moments to shine, on "Newport News," "I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)," etc. Hamilton also brought in a full reed section for several numbers here, in acknowledgement of his own appreciation of the classic 1940s big-band sound. And the contrasts with the quartet and solo numbers make this one of the most diversely textured and wide-ranging of all Chico Hamilton albums.

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