Those that are in my inner circle know full well there is not a great deal that gets me terribly excited. Having recently reviewed what is technically Chris Hazelton Trio's first release, Hazelton and his killer trio are back with Peregrination which is one of the very best releases B3 or not across the board for 2012. The exciting if not at times astonishing aspect of this particular release is that Hazelton never attempts to reinvent the musical wheel. The Chris Hazelton Trio simply takes something that is very good, perhaps refines it just a touch but ultimately makes it even better with a natural progression of talent, ability and a swing that comes deep from within.
For the more studious types playing along at home the definition of Peregrination may well be the most appropriate if not shortest review on record.
Peregrination n. A voyage or journey, especially an extensive one. The act or process of travelling.
Since the first release which is by all accounts is as stellar a debut release as you can find, Hazelton has been on his own personal journey. Another musical voice that continues to inspire Hazelton and perhaps makes an even stronger appearance here than on the debut is that of the great Dr. Lonnie Smith. Hazelton is out to rest on the accomplishments of others. The tune "L.G.E" is a Hazelton tune with a rich melodic center of swing this trio seems to relish. Guitarist Danny Embrey work with Hazelton hand in glove while the finesse of drummer Kevin Frazee owns the pocket with his solo allowing the music to take center stage and dictate the musical road less traveled. Let's get real, when you have an organ trio a standard does have to sneak into the set list where we find the Rodgers & Hart classic "Have You Met Miss Jones." This blistering vamp runs the trio through their paces never missing a beat and simply swings like a beast. "The Groove Starts Here" is another Hazelton original with a slight Latin vibe but a soulful feel that seeps into your soul in a moments notice. Guitarist Embrey's solo drives the lyrical train on this ever so slightly blues infused tune that is one but many compositional gems Hazelton has to offer.
Why doe Peregrination work so well? Simple...Nothing is forced, This is an organ trio with it;s own voice and it;s own identity blazing it;s own trail and not trying to necessarily follow the trail set by others. This release knows when to push forward and when to pull back, changing dynamics and harmonics while working without a net is a difficult thing to do. The Chris Hazelton Trio make it sound as simple as tying your shoes. To walk away from this release without a 5 Star rating would put me in the tone deaf category.
5 Huge Stars!
Tracks: Harlem Groove; L.G.E.; Achilles Heel; For God So Loved The World; The Sneak; Have You Met Miss Jones; Door Prize; The Groove Starts Here; Weaver of Dreams; Peregrination.
Personnel: Chris Hazelton: hammond b-3 organ; Danny Embrey: guitar; Kevin Frazee: drums.
It will be on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby starting May 17th. In the meantime, the website has 3 songs available to preview. http://www.chrishazelton.com/