I was listening to his latest CD, Peregrination, at work, through headphones. I stopped, hearing the first cut, Harlem Groove. Then, I didn’t realize, I started swaying to the beat, moving one shoulder up, then down, then the next, listening to that swinging Hammond B-3 organ play. Then Danny’s solo flowed in and just intensified my concentration. All the while, Kevin’s beat kept the music moving perfectly.
Then someone tapped my shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?”
Sure I was okay, I thought. I was enjoying Chris Hazelton’s jazz organ, stepping right into the traditions set by Jimmy McGriff and Jimmy Smith, supplemented by Danny Embrey’s always intriguing and wonderful solos, and Kevin Frazee’s drums driving the tempo right. I was better than okay. I was enjoying this.
“You'll have that spreadsheet in a half hour,” I said.
Ever since Jimmy McGriff performed as the headliner who wasn’t rained out the year I presided over the Kansas City Jazz Festival, I’ve been a fan of the Hammond B-3. With Peregrination, whether on an updating of a Rogers and Hart classic, or on a ruminative ballad, or on an original by himself or Danny, Chris shows a masterful touch. And the interaction between himself and Danny regularly results in compelling lines tossed back and forth, organ to guitar to organ.
Peregrination can be purchased from Amazon here or downloaded from iTunes here. Or, better yet, catch this trio live this Friday at Take Five Coffee + Bar (151st and Nall) for their second CD release party, and pick up a copy there.
Their first CD release party was held last Thursday at The Blue Room, where about a hundred of us heard just how good this group sounds in person. Below is a glimpse at how it looked.
Chris Hazelton Trio. Left to right: Chris on Hammond B-3 organ, Kevin Frazee on drums, Danny Embry on guitar
Chris and, in the background, Danny
Chris Hazelton Trio in The Blue Room
Chris and, in the background, Kevin