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