Bray Jazz Festival 2018

Bray Jazz Festival 2018

"Good things happen to good people," jazz promoter Dominic Reily told the audience by way of introduction to Linley Hamilton's afternoon concert, which kick-started the second day of BJF 2018. In his multiple roles as BBC broadcaster, university lecturer and bandleader, Hamilton is arguably the hardest-working jazz musician in the Wild West that is Ireland, endlessly criss-crossing the country—trumpet and sheet music in tow—like a character from Wacky Races. A tireless advocate for jazz and its practitioners, particularly the upcoming talent, Hamilton has given much to the music. Now it seems, with Making Other Arrangements(Teddy D Records, 2018) poised for international exposure, the music is giving Hamilton something back.

Having played the very first edition of Bray Jazz Festival trumpeter Hamilton returned with a large ensemble of eighteen musicians for the live premiere of Making Other Arrangements. This project had been a quarter of a century in the making since Hamilton first heard Freddie Hubbard's orchestrally buoyed album Ride Like The Wind(Elektra/Musician, 1982)—vowing then that one day he would realize a similarly inspired work.

With pianist/arranger Cian Boylan, the twelve-piece string ensemble and a crack unit of some of Ireland's best jazz musicians crammed onto the creaking stage of the Parochial Hall, Hamilton led a programme of classic tunes from the popular standard repertoire before a full house. Hamilton's total command of his instrument was evident from the off; on Artie Butler's "Here's to Life" and Hubbard's "Brigitte" both his balladry and his more robust soloing were characterized by the warmth of his tone. Hamilton however, surrounds himself with great players, and there were also telling individual contributions from saxophonists Ben Castleand Brendan Doyle—who both doubled on woodwinds—Nigel Clarkeon guitar, drummer Guy Rickarby, and switching between double and electric bass, Dave Redmond.

Hamilton switched to flugelhorn on a gorgeous rendition of James Taylor's ballad "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." Covered in the past by Michael Brecker, James Moodyand George Benson, this song's adoption by jazz musicians is indicative of the shift towards a modernizing of the interpretative repertoire. Increasingly, singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Paul Simonand bands like Radioheadare providing grist to the mill of jazz musicians and making elbow room alongside the classics of The Great American songbook. Hamilton's lovely trumpet-and-strings interpretation of Earth Wind and Fire's "After the Love Has Gone" and Michel Legrand's "What are you Doing the Rest of your Life?" were further proof of that.

Elegant tribute to jazz giants Dizzy Gillespieand Abdullah Ibrahimcame with "Con Alma" and an exquisite version of "Joan Capetown Flower." A couple of original tunes also stood out; the slinky, Henri Mancini-esque jazz-funk of Boylan's "Cat and Mouse" and guest vocalist Dana Masters's "Because of You" -an infectious slice of grooving R&B that has huge summer hit written all over it. Masters took to the stage on several occasions, injecting some Southern Carolina soul into proceedings. Her rousing performance on Frank Golde/Peter Ivers "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon," with Hamilton in inspired form, was a set highlight.

The concert closed with, "Carmel," a striking tune written by Hamilton's wife Maggie Doyle. To the surprise of all, dancer Nadine Hegarty—Director of Fireworks Dance Drama and Theatre Academy in Derry—sprang from the wings and improvised a stunning jazz-cum-ballet dance in front of the unsuspecting audience. The poetic weave of music and dance provided a fitting finale to a memorable concert. A standing ovation ensued.

Hamilton's Making Other Arrangementsis on the road for the rest of this year and next, with shows in Ireland, the UK, Italy, Canada and South Africa already on the cards. It is, as Hamilton's manger Dominic Reily intimated at the start of the afternoon, the wider exposure that this extremely talented trumpeter has long deserved. Good things indeed.

Ian Patterson Review: All About Jazz - Making Other Arrangements

Ian Patterson Review: All About Jazz - Making Other Arrangements

With albums like Taylor Made (Lyte Records, 2011) and In Transition (Lyte Records, 2014), trumpeter Linley Hamilton established himself as a virtuoso and bandleader of some note, surrounding himself with Ireland's finest established players while nurturing the island's best of the up-and-coming talent. With Making Other Arrangements (Teddy D Records, 2018) Hamilton enlists an eighteen-piece band featuring the strings of the twelve-piece Camden Orchestra on a set of classic tunes straddling the worlds of jazz, cinema and popular song. Employing strings marks the realization of a long-standing ambition, ever since Hamilton first heard Freddie Hubbard's Ride Like the Wind (Elektra/Musician, 1982) twenty five years ago. The results are performances of warmth and soul where the smallest details say as much about the love invested in this project as the excellent playing of the ensemble in full voice. 

Strings provide a velveteen cushion for emotive solos by Hamilton, tenor saxophonist Brendan Doyle and alto saxophonist Ben Castle on the two contrasting ballads that open the album—Artie Butler's meltingly beautiful "Here's to Life," which became a signature tune for Shirley Horn—and Freddie Hubbard's two-geared "Brigitte." As Hamilton acknowledged in a 2014 interview with All About Jazz, Hubbard was a seminal influence, although if anything the Irish trumpeter's playing here is more aligned with Wynton Marsalis, particularly the mellow Marsalis of the Standard Time... albums. 

As fine a balladeer as any, Hamilton also possesses tremendous technical chops, though with rare exception this is an album less of pyrotechnic displays and more one of deep emotional connection to cherished songs. The trumpeter's uplifting tone on James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," his bluesy lyricism on David Foster's "After the Love Has Gone"—with a Gershwins-esque string arrangement from pianist Cian Boylan—and his passionate yet caressing interpretation of Abdullah Ibrahim's classic "Joan Capetown Flower" exemplify Hamilton's natural melodicism and his preference for heartfelt narrative over technical show. 

However, it's the ensemble voice—with or without strings—that makes for the album's success. Bassist David Redmond, drummer Guy Rickarby and Boylan provide a solid rhythmic bass, Nigel Clarke adds sparkling cameos on acoustic and electric guitar, while Doyle and Castle's every intervention injects brio. South Carolina-born, Lisburn-based R&B singer Dana Masters brings a helping of southern soul to Frank Golde/Peter Ivers' "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon," her powerful performance buoyed by strings, shimmering Hammond organ and vibrant jazz accompaniment. More of Master—who sings regularly with Van Morrison—would have been nice, but that, perhaps, is a whole other album. 

Ivan Lins "Love Dance" and Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life" bring out the romantic in Hamilton—and some of his most persuasive playing—while Maggie Doyle's "Carmel" rounds out the album in style, this cheery tune with strings and percolating percussing evoking 1960s Burt Bacharach. 

Cian Boylan's savvy arrangements of these classic tunes is an important piece of the equation, setting up a platform for first-rate performances from all the musicians. Hamilton, however, is the driving force. As a bandleader and soloist par excellence Hamilton stamps his personality on every tune, making Making Other Arrangements a highpoint in his career. It's a beautifully crafted recording that should appeal to all those who appreciate a fine melody sincerely delivered. 

Track Listing: Here’s To Life; Brigitte; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; After The Love Has Gone; Con Alma; Joan Capetown Flower; Love Dance; Louisiana Sunday Afternoon; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life; Carmel.

Personnel: Linley Hamilton: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben Castle: woodwinds, saxophones; Brendan Doyle: woodwinds, saxophones; Cian Boylan: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Nigel Clarke: guitar; David Redmond: bass; Guy Rickarby: drums; Kenneth Rice: violin; Lynda O’Connor: violin; David O’Doherty: violin; Jane Hackett: violin; Paul O’Hanlon: violin; Louis Roden: violin; Denice Doyle: violin; Karla Vedres: viola; Nathan Sherman: viola; Karen Dervan: viola; Gerald Peregrine: cello; Paula Hughes: cello; Dana Masters: vocals (8).

THE IRISH TIMES - Linley Hamilton: Making Other Arrangements – Belfast trumpeter’s orchestral manoeuvres

THE IRISH TIMES - Linley Hamilton: Making Other Arrangements – Belfast trumpeter’s orchestral manoeuvres

Trumpeter Linley Hamilton has been Belfast’s jazz evangelist for the last three decades, as a leader of his own groups, as a first-call session horn for the likes of Van Morrison and Jacqui Dankworth, as presenter of Jazz World on BBC Radio Ulster and, most recently, as a tutor on the jazz course at Ulster University’s Magee campus in Derry.

Hamilton is a muscular soloist in the classic hard-bop tradition; his previous releases have been hard-swinging small group affairs, but here he realises a long-held ambition to record with a full orchestral ensemble. And for those who think the pretty has gone from contemporary improvised music, Making Other Arrangements is a message from a parallel, altogether happier jazz universe.

Beneath Hamilton’s burnished trumpet sound, pianist and arranger Cian Boylanexpertly conjures a luxurious accompaniment from the 19-piece Camden Orchestra that recalls the luscious strings of Vince Mendoza and the soulful grooves of classic R&B. Saxophonists Brendan Doyle and Ben Castle nail the cool, west coast atmosphere and US diva Dana Masters delivers a vocal performance from deep in the soul pocket on Louisiana Sunday Afternoon. It’s a notable achievement for all concerned and certainly one of the most densely populated Irish jazz recordings ever. linleyhamilton.com

Republic of Jazz - Review

Republic of Jazz - Review

The trumpeter Linley Hamilton been an important figure within jazz in Ireland and the UK for many years. As a musician he is at the top of the list when it comes to looking for a horn player for a recording or live performance. He has appeared on records by Paul Brady, Jacqui Dankworth and Foy Vance to name a few. 

Now he has brought forward possibly the finest jazz album recorded in Ireland for decades. 'Making Other Arrangements' is a unique collaboration between Hamilton, the musician/leader and Cian Boylan, the producer/arranger. It is a collection of compositions from the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Freddie Hubbard, James Taylor and Michel Legrand. It features a full string ensemble, woodwind and rhythm section. The result is a masterful album with wonderful individual performances created with cascades of sounds that will captivate and delight the listener. 

For this project Hamilton and Boylan pulled together some of the leading voices in Irish jazz including Nigel Clark on guitar, Ben Castle on saxophone, Dana Masters on vocals, Dave Redmond on bass and Guy Rickerby on drums.

All About Jazz: Bruce Lindsay Reviews "Making Other Arrangements:

All About Jazz: Bruce Lindsay Reviews "Making Other Arrangements:

Linley Hamilton: Making Other Arrangements

By BRUCE LINDSAY 
April 19, 2018
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 SLIDESHOW

Making Other Arrangements has been a long time coming—over 25 years, since trumpeter and broadcaster Linley Hamilton first heard Freddie Hubbard's Ride Like The Wind and decided that one day he, too, would make an album with a large ensemble. It's been worth the wait. Hamilton's third album as leader is lush, romantic and beautifully performed. Based in Belfast, Hamilton is an important figure on the jazz scene of the island of Ireland, as a musician, lecturer and BBC radio broadcaster. Large ensembles are difficult to organise these days, for economic reasons if not logistics, but Hamilton has managed it, drawing together 20 musicians including American vocalist Dana Masters (now living in Northern Ireland) and a 12-piece string section. Arranger and keyboard player Cian Boylan makes the most of this genuinely large ensemble, balancing out the contributions from the string section and the other instruments and creating showcases for soloists including Hamilton himself. Twelve players in the string section—13 when bassist David Redmond is included—could have ended up dominating the sound, but Boylan ensures this doesn't happen. His arrangements enable the string players to add a richness to the sound or to heighten the drama (on "Here's To Life," for example). Hubbard's "Brigitte" is one of the album's standout tracks, centering on Hamilton's controlled yet affecting performance which is set into sharp relief by Boylan's understated arrangement. Boylan makes the most of the strings for "After The Love Has Gone," moving the Earth, Wind & Fire '70s hit a few decades back to create a richly seductive performance that would fit neatly into a Fred Astaire movie. There are lovely touches to be found across the 10 tracks, including Boylan's piano on James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and some excellent solos from Ben Castle and Brendan Doyle. Masters sings on "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon"—a fine, soulful, performance that leads one to wonder what she might have added to songs like "Here's To Life" or "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." Maybe next time... 

Track Listing: Here’s To Life; Brigitte; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; After The Love Has Gone; Con Alma; Joan Capetown Flower; Love Dance; Louisiana Sunday Afternoon; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life; Carmel.

Personnel: Linley Hamilton: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben Castle: woodwinds, saxophones; Brendan Doyle: woodwinds, saxophones; Cian Boylan: piano, Fender Rhodes, organ; Nigel Clarke: guitar; David Redmond: bass; Guy Rickarby: drums; Kenneth Rice: violin; Lynda O’Connor: violin; David O’Doherty: violin; Jane Hackett: violin; Paul O’Hanlon: violin; Louis Roden: violin; Denice Doyle: violin; Karla Vedres: viola; Nathan Sherman: viola; Karen Dervan: viola; Gerald Peregrine: cello; Paula Hughes: cello; Dana Masters: vocals (8).

Title: Making Other Arrangements | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Teddy D Records

London Jazz News - Linley Hamilton: Making Other Arrangements

London Jazz News - Linley Hamilton: Making Other Arrangements

Linley Hamilton – Making Other Arrangements

(Teddy D Records. CD Review by Lauren Bush)

This album has been in the making for at least four years since this Northern Irelander’s last release, In Transition in 2014, but for Linley Hamilton it seems as though this collection of arrangements has been developing for much longer. Inspired by Freddie Hubbard’s large ensemble on Ride Like the Wind, his new album is a concoction of tunes that have been arranged for woodwinds, strings and a rhythm section – with Hamilton’s melodic trumpet line at the forefront.

Cian Boylan, whose arrangements have fulfilled Hamilton’s dream, begin on Here’s to Life. The lyrics are left out only to be replaced by the emotionally charged trumpet line, weaving seamlessly with the strings.

Track two nods its head to Hubbard as inspiration with Brigitte. Its classic '80s backbeat’s still there but with a bit of a modern twist and a brilliant solo that connects all the dots from inception to completion.

The sheer variety of music on this album has something for everyone; as we navigate past bebop tradition through a James Taylor staple Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (with a wicked bass groove) and into Earth, Wind and Fire's classic After the Love Has Gone with a beautiful string treatment that makes it almost unrecognisable. Again, Hamilton’s solo has an ethereal quality that conveys the vocal line perfectly.

It’s obvious that Hamilton is attracted to a good beat, and including some of his trumpet heroes’ songs is no surprise. Dizzy’s tune Con Alma has a similar Latin feel as Brigitte did with solos from  the leader and both sax players Brendan Doyle and Ben Castle weaving through. Continuing on is a rousing rendition of Joan Capetown Flower by Abdullah Ibrahim, with an almost "take me to church" feel, the rhythm section in full sync here as they shift onto another Latin inspiration: Ivan LinsLove Dance.

On Louisiana Sunday Afternoon, Hamilton is joined by American singer Dana Masters. The two are good friends and the trumpeter has stepped back to let Dana shine – it momentarily feels like her stage until his solo, where he is beautifully featured over top of a bed of strings – the whole collaboration is showcased so exquisitely.

Another fabulous bass line from Dave Redmond allows for a growly, sensual rendition of Michel Legrand’s What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?before we are brought home to the warmest, most sincere ending to this fabulous project. Carmel wraps up the whole album, as though walking down a summer street with three scoops of ice-cream in hand. Again, the whole ensemble builds in, one step at a time, enveloping Hamilton’s trumpet in a happy mood comparable to a cheery Beatles tune.

Hamilton’s vision combined with Boylan’s arrangements match each style with an exciting new take and just the right amount of nostalgia for the songs we know so well. What an amazing tapestry of music to showcase this trumpet maestro. It was a pure pleasure to listen to.