JJ 11/91: Andy Hamilton – Silvershine

Thirty years ago, David Badham was delighted to encounter the debut album from 73-year-old Birmingham saxophonist Andy Hamilton. First published in Jazz Journal November 1991


Andy here makes his recording debut at the ripe old age of 73 and somebody should get him back in there very soon as he is a real find! He’s been living and playing in Birmingham for 40 years, but on the evidence here, it is really astonishing he has not been bet­ter known to the listening public at large.

Musicians presumably do know him however, as players of the calibre of David Murray do not guest with just anyone, and both with his regular ‘Blue Notes’ Sextet and with Murray and the other illustrious guests hereon, he is well worth your attention.

In musical style, he clearly comes from that warm and outgoing West Indies tradition of such as Barriteau and Harriott and on his chief instrument (tenor sax) he is reminiscent of Hawkins and Chu Berry without being a copyist. His misleadingly simple but sonorous, haunting and very effective solos on I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan, You Are Too Beautiful and above all I Can’t Get Started will quickly assure you of his strength on ballads, while his duetting with Toussaint on Uncle Joe and Murray on his own calypso style Silvershine illustrate his all-round musical strength.

Elsewhere, his son Graeme plays very effective muted trum­pet on I Guess I’ll Have To Change and Old Folks (perhaps the best rendering of this tune I know!), Jason Rebello excites with fresh ideas on Autumn Groove, and the four tenor chase on Andy’s Blues is top class. Well worth the effort to acquire – a real discovery.

(b) Andy’s Blues; (a) I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan; You Are Too Beautiful*; (c) Old Folks; (d) I Can’t Get Started; (a) Body And Soul; (e) Silvershine; (f) Autumn Groove; (g) Uncle Joe; (h) Silvershine (59.06)
(a) Graeme Hamilton (t); Andy Hamilton (ts); Sam Brown (p); Ralf DeCambre (g); Ray ‘Pablo’ Brown (b); Mark Mondesir (d); Mick Hucknall (v*); London, January 11-12, 1991.
(b) = (a) plus Jean Toussaint, Andy Sheppard, Steve Williamson (ts); Orphy Rob­inson (vbs).
(c) as (a) but Johnny Hoo (d) for Mondesir plus David Murray (ts/b.clt); London, December 12, 1990.
(d) = (a) plus Orphy Robinson (vbs).
(e) = (c) plus Nana Tsiboe (perc).
(f) as (a) but Hoo (d) for Mondesir and Jason Robello (p) for Brown; Birming­ham, March 25, 1991.
(g) = (a) plus Jean Tous­saint (ts); Mamadi Kamara (perc).
(h) Andy Hamilton (ts) only. Birmingham, March 25, 1991.
(World Circuit WCD 025)