Chico Hamilton Quintet: Drumfusion

The drummer's 1961 album marked his shift from the esoteric to the forthright, aided by the addition of players such as Charles Lloyd

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In the late 50s, Chico Hamilton was known for his West Coast groups; cerebral music with reedmen Buddy Collette, Eric Dolphy or Paul Horn and the cello of Fred Katz or Nate Gershman. In 1961, however, he moved towards a more forthright style, replacing cello with trombone (Garnett Brown), giving the ensemble a fuller sound, and introducing the young Charles Lloyd, whose direct, expansive way of playing made a sharp contrast to previous groups.

Lloyd’s playing here is clearly influenced by Coltrane, notably on his solos on Freedom Traveller and Transfusion, although there is a harder edge to his tone. His composition A Rose For Booker is a reference to his close friend Booker Little and features his flute playing, with sensitive support from trombonist Brown and guitarist Gabor Szabo. As usual, Hamilton is thoughtful and attentive, whether in his deft use of brushes or in his proficiency in the more vigorous passages.

A later, shorter version of Transfusion from September 1962 is included, as a bonus track, slightly more laid back, with George Bohannon replacing Brown.

Originally issued on Columbia, this album (here on 180g coloured vinyl) illustrates how well Hamilton had altered his approach, taking on board the changes that characterised what was happening in the music at the time, with the spirited Homeward an excellent example.

Discography
One For Joan; Freedom Traveller Parts 1 & 2; Tales; One For Joan (alt); Homeward; A Rose For Booker; Transfusion; Transfusion (version #2) (43.50)
Hamilton (d); Charles Lloyd (ts, f); Garnett Brown (tb); Gabor Szabo (g); Albert Stinson (b). New York, 19 February 1962. George Bohanon (tb) replaces Brown on Transfusion (version #2). New Jersey, 18 Sept 1962.
Waxtime in Color 772338