Pianist David Hazeltine has a history with Criss Cross. To be specific, between 1995 and 2010, Gerry Teekens, the label’s founder, presented eight albums on which Hazeltine led trios, quartets and quintets featuring his impeccable, individualistic pianism, original compositions and arrangements; another five with the cooperative all-star sextet One For All (tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassists Peter Washington or John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth), whose grooving, harmonically acute charts bear his stamp; and another 17 as a sideman with the aforementioned luminaries, trumpeter Brian Lynch, alto saxophonist Jim Snidero, and other high-level jazzfolk who now hold pride of place in the hardcore jazz ecosystem.
Hazeltine returns to the fold with Blues For Gerry, his first Criss Cross leader date since Inversions (2010, Criss 1326), a lovely quintet date that included Alexander and vibraphonist Steve Nelson. Recorded in a single six-hour session on December 1, 2022, it’s his third state of the art trio recital for Criss Cross with modern masters Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth, following the equally accomplished Perambulation (2005, Criss 1276) and Close To You (2003, Criss 1247).
“Gerry Senior liked those albums, and his son Jerry Teekens, Jr. asked me if I’d put together that same trio,” Hazeltine said in March, a day after returning from a 20-day tour of primarily one-nighters in Europe with drummer Bernd Reiter and bassist Aldo Zunino. “I have fond memories of working for Gerry. He was a pretty hands-off producer, and let me do what I wanted. His one request was always, ‘there’s got to be a blues; it’s not swinging if there’s no blues.’ So I wrote Blues for Gerry.”
|1.||Here Again (David Hazeltine) 6:33|
|2.||Tangerine (Victor Schertzinger / Johnny Mercer) 5:50|
|3.||Blues For Gerry (David Hazeltine) 7:37|
|4.||Firm Roots (Cedar Walton) 6:44|
|5.||Body And Soul (Johnny Green / Robert Sour / Edward Heyman / Frank Eyton) 7:13|
|6.||It Could Happen To You (Jimmy Van Heusen / Johnny Burke) 6:01|
|7.||Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael / Johnny Mercer) 4:46|
|8.||Minor Disturbance (David Hazeltine) 5:29|
|9.||You Know I Care (Duke Pearson) 5:41|
|10.||Here We Go (David Hazeltine) 6:16|
Total Time: 62:10
Recorded December 1, 2022 in Astoria, NY, USA by Mike Marciano