Bill McCormick,Jazz composer,has recently recorded eight new works for a quintet comprised of the best of New York's top line players: Jim Clouse(Reeds),Hans Glawischnig(bass),Ken Hatfield(guitar),Steve Kroon(percussion),and Dan Weiss(drums).This all acoustic Jazz ensemble will delight you with music that ranges in genre from Be-bop to Brazil-and with some stylings that defy classification. Beautifully arranged,tastefully played -and definitely cooking all the way through!
"Noted Connecticut-based jazz guitarist/composer Bill McCormick
handed over a slew of new tunes to guitarist extraordinaire Ken
Hatfield, who then created an album full of bright, satisfying music.
Hatfield and friends – soprano saxman Jim Clouse, bassist
Hans Glawisching, percussionist Steve Kroon and drummer Dan
Weiss – do justice to McCormick’s melody-happy compositions
through solid musicianship, uncannily empathetic ensemble
playing and plenty of meaty solos in an all-acoustic setting.
Hatfield not only performs incisive and well-thought-out solo fret
work, he delivers this new jazz via a nylon-string guitar.
Although McCormick’s tunes and Hatfield’s guitar are the
headliners, the combo shines, proving that an all-acoustic outfit
isn’t bereft of power and energy. The give-and-take between
Hatfield and his mates is spirited and egalitarian with plenty of
swing to spare. Not just for jazz purists, “To Be Continued … ” has
enough melody and warmth to entice even the most jaded music
– Eric Feber, The Virginian-Pilot 1/9/09
"..with a bunch of cats on board that any downtown fan would recognize,it's a jazz guitar outing of a different stripe.Ah,yes,when a bunch of pros convene to do it their way..."
Midwest Record 12/28/08
"In a year of of some exceptional guitar albums,such as Lionel Loueke's, Ken Hatfield's 'To Be Continued...' stands out too as a personalized statement arising from his own individualistic technique and the compositions of Bill McCormick for the CD."
“Even listeners familiar with Ken Hatfield, the exceptionally gifted nylon-string guitarist, may well find this session a revelation in more ways than one. Granted, the album’s eight compositions, all written by Bill McCormick, provide a showcase for the skills Hatfield has displayed on previous recordings: the precise touch, the nimble phrasing, the ease with which he can make a Brazilian melody wax lyrical or seductive.
But thanks to McCormick’s consistently appealing, yet wide ranging contributions - and Hatfield’s inventive arrangements,'To Be Continued…'is as revealing as as it is expansive. A delightful case in point is 'El Camino Wes'. Turns out, McCormick first encountered Hatfield in the early 70’s,back when Hatfield was toting around an archtop guitar and in the thrall to the genius of Wes Montgomery. It’s real treat to hear Hatfield in this McCormick-fashioned tribute to Montgomery, playing popping single note choruses contributing to a soul-jazz groove.
Still, long before that performance rolls around-it serves as the album’s coda-Hatfield, McCormick, and a top shelf quartet prominently featuring soprano/tenor saxophonist Jim Clouse deliver the goods . Particularly enjoyable are the the album’s title track, a sinuous charmer, and ' I’m Movin’ To Cool Breeze City ',a bop head brightened by Clouse’s luminous soprano….
Implicit in it’s title is the promise that 'To Be Continued…' will spawn a sequel. Here’s hoping it arrives sooner rather than later.”
Mike Joyce,Jazz Times,May 2009 edition
"Bill McCormick’s current release, "To Be Continued," features eight superbly crafted compositions brilliantly performed by guitarist extraordinaire, Ken Hatfield. The music on this album ranges from Bop to Brazilian and from Blues to Classical. Ken Hatfield could not have been a better choice to deliver this exceptional music. He is a true master of the nylon-string guitar, elegantly swinging throughout the recording. His intricate and adventurous soloing and tasteful comping holds the listeners interest on every track. Joining Hatfield are some of New York’s most sought after musicians, including a very supportive rhythm section consisting of Hans Glawischnig on bass, Steve Kroon on percussion, and Dan Weiss on drums. The guitarist is also strategically paired with Jim Clouse’s encouraging and innovative reed playing, causing Hatfield to really reach out in his solos. The opening "The Spirit of Soul" features Clouse’s haunting soprano bringing to mind John Coltrane and Steve Lacy’s incendiary approach to the instrument. On "El Camino Wes" Hatfield pays homage to his hero without resorting to the typical Montgomery style clichés often used on similar dedications. "I’m Movin’ to Cool Breeze City" is a Bop fueled burner with pinpoint soloing throughout, while "Pastorale," is a gentle, reflective solo piece featuring Hatfield’s lyrical, melodic playing. Another noteworthy aspect of this recording is that not only is the ensemble entirely acoustic, microphones were the only medium used to capture the sound. The result is an entirely acoustic recording. In an era where most albums of this nature feature musicians who are "plugged in," using a myriad of electronic processing, this "mike only" approach is a refreshing alternative. Together Bill McCormick and Ken Hatfield have created an exceptional recording graced with interesting compositions and dazzling performances. "To Be Continued" is highly recommended for all listeners interested in hearing truly, pure acoustic music."
© James Scott
TO BE CONTINUED…KEN HATFIELD
AND FRIENDS PLAY THE MUSIC OF BILL
MCCORMICK—Mpub Corp. MPUBCD002.
www.mpubmusic.com . The Spirit Of Soul; Memories
Of A Dream; I’m Movin’ To Cool Breeze City; Mystery
Ship; To Be Continued; The Persistence Of Saudade;
Pastorale; El Camino Wes.
PERSONNEL: Ken Hatfield, guitar/mandolin;
Jim Clouse, soprano saxophone/tenor saxophone;
Hans Glawischnig, bass; Steve Kroon, percussion;
Dan Weiss, drums.
By Dan Bilawsky
"The nylon string guitar isn’t typically associated
with jazz and composer Bill McCormick isn’t a
household name but after hearing this album you’ll
ponder both of these things and ask yourself…why
not?? Nylon string guitarist Ken Hatfield is stunning
across all eight tracks here and this is one of the most
consistently engaging records I’ve heard all year. The
album kicks off with a bouncy burner in three called
“The Spirit Of Soul.” Drummer Dan Weiss lays down
a strong groove and Hatfield demonstrates his strong
technique, clean sound and impeccable taste during
his solo. Jim Clouse gets plenty of solo space on
soprano saxophone here and he doesn’t disappoint.
Shades of Brazil come through on “Memories of a
Dream,” as Clouse’s soprano saxophone seduces you.
Hatfield’s soloing here takes on more romantic sentiments
and percussionist Steve Kroon helps to add
color to the mix with all sorts of percussion (i.e. cowbell,
shaker, etc.). The snappy swing feel briefly shifts
to a straighter Latin feel on “I’m Movin’ to Cool
Breeze City.” Hans Glawischnig contributes a strong
solo to this track and the band trades solos with
Kroon and Weiss during this fun four-minute frolic.
Kroon pulls out all the stops on “Mystery Ship,”
providing some spooky percussion underpinnings
to this haunting piece. At less than two-minutes,
this serves as more of a transition than a full-fledged
composition. While the title track begins with some
shimmering music making, things settle into a slow
samba-influenced groove and Hatfield, Glawischnig
and Clouse sound terrific as they trade eight measure
solos over the seemingly effortless rhythmic undercurrent.
When these three musicians meet at the end
of the track, with Clouse providing the haunting
melody, Hatfield helping with arpeggiated lines and
Glawischnig bowing beneath, it’s pure magic.
The brilliance and sway of Brazil are back on
“The Persistence Of Saudade.” Kroon’s percussion
work helps to bring an authentic sound and feel to this
piece and Glawischnig is terrific in both of his roles, as
soloist and anchor for the rhythm section. Hatfield’s
soloing is understated but undeniably enjoyable here
and Clouse takes off into some fun flights toward the
end of this track. “Pastorale” is a two-minute solo guitar
piece that owes as much to the classical nature of
Hatfield’s instrument as it does to jazz. Hatfield, and
almost every guitarist in jazz over the past four or five
decades, was surely influenced by Wes Montgomery
and the closing track on the album (“El Camino Wes”)
pays tribute to the guitar legend. While this track is
certainly in the spirit of Montgomery, Hatfield avoids
copying and manages to honor him without plagiarizing
his soloing ideas. While Hatfield could have fit
more than twice as much music on this album (the
CD clocks in at about thirty-six minutes) he chose
to say only what needed to be said and this is one of
the many strengths of this album. Great performances
should leave you wanting more and this CD exemplifies
Bill Henderson/Excerpted from Jazz Improv NY May 2009(complimentary copy available at www.jazzimprov.com/guide)