With a subtle and creative style, Chico Hamilton is among the finest jazz drummers of all time. This CD contains his classic 1959 Warner Brothers release and includes some of his best recordings.
Chico Hamilton: Chico Hamilton; Nat Gershman (cello); Wyatt Ruther (bass guitar); Dennis Budimir, Eric Dolphy.
Personnel: Chico Hamilton (drums); Dennis Budimir (guitar, electric guitar); Nathan Gershman (cello); Eric Dolphy (flute, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone).
Recording information: 10/26/1958-10/27/1958.
Chico Hamilton has led a number of surprisingly innovative groups during his long career, but his recordings from the mid- to late 1950s represent some of his best work. With Strings Attached was recorded for Warner Bros in the fall of 1959, featuring the drummer's quintet with bassist Wyatt Ruther (who had previously worked with Dave Brubeck, guitarist Dennis Budimir, cellist Nathan Gershman, and newcomer Eric Dolphy, who is heard on flute, bass clarinet, and alto sax. Former cellist Fred Katz contributed arrangements and conducted the string section which augments the group on five tracks. Hamilton's band is very forward-looking for the time, while Dolphy is already shaping up as an innovative soloist (he would begin to be recognized in the near future, only to die prematurely in 1964 from undiagnosed diabetes and insulin shock). Dolphy's warm flute is prominent in the scoring of "Something to Live For," his bass clarinet (though not yet taking the great interval leaps he would later) in "Speak Low," and his adventurous alto sax in "Close Your Eyes" (which is strangely referred to as "Close to You" in the liner notes). The other soloists also shine, though it is Eric Dolphy whose star is brightest on these sessions. Long out of print on LP, the complete album was finally reissued on CD by Collectables in 2007. ~ Ken Dryden