Monday, January 21, 2013

Graham Dechter: Takin' It There

 Jazz music after my heart 
Graham Dechter, a promising guitarist in his twenties, jazz mature beyond his years ....
 Hans Koert

Last year Graham Dechter, a promising guitarist in his twenties, released his latest album Takin' It There with a dreamed rhythm section, featuring Tamir Hendelman at the piano, John Clayton on double bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. The album was recorded in Van Nuys (LA) (Ca) ( Takin' it There and Father) April 2011 and Hollywood (Ca) August 2011. This is Jazz music after my heart ......

Graham Dechter raised in a musical family – his grandfather and both his parents were part of the music scene in California as music teacher and trombonist (Ted Detcher), saxophonist and Hollywood orchestrator ( Brad Dechter) or vocalist ( Maureen Dechter). Born in LA he started at five at the violin and started to play the guitar as a teenager ……

Graham Dechter ( photo courtesy: Chaz Nenneker)

He studied classical music while at Idyllwild Arts Academy high school, where he discovered jazz music thanks to bass player Marshall Hawkins, who learned him to improvise. Graham became inspired by jazz guitar players like Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel.  More than anything, Marshall Hawkins conveyed the spirit of the music to his students, in a way that only someone who’s been there and lived the jazz lifestyle can.  Graham studied jazz studies program at Eastman School of Music, when Jeff Hamilton asked him to join the prestigious Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO) – Graham became, 19 years old, the youngest member of the band ever.

Jeff Hamilton ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

It isn’t so strange that Graham asked these men for this dreamed rhythm section … to accompany him at this album. Both John Clayton, bass player and Jeff Hamilton drummer are the founders of this band. 
They know each other since the years they played in the  Monty Alexander trio, the trio that created a furor after its 1985 Montreux concert – In 2005 this famous trio re-united and played during  a club tour all along European venues, like the Porgy en Bess club in Terneuzen (The Netherlands).  After the trio was disbanded John Clayton, who had moved to Holland, and Jeff Hamilton stayed close friends and shared their passion to found a big band, like the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Band.

 Tamir Hendelman (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Tamir Hendelman has been part of the  Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for years.  As a six year old boy he started to play the piano in his motherland Israel before he moved to the States in 1984. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and started to play in the Jeff Hamilton Trio in 2000 before he joined the CHJO. I heard him in Porgy en Bess too with the Jeff Hamilton Trio, October 2008 – Tamir surprised with his debut album Playground and the 2010 album Destinations. He was also part of Jeff Hamilton latest trio album: Red Sparkle.

 Graham Dechter - Takin' It There ( Capri Records Ltd CAPRI 74117-2)

The album Takin’ It There has ten tracks. Two tracks, Together & Apart and the first half of the final track, Amanda, are own compositions.  
You can easily recognize which jazz musicians inspired Graham Dechter: Wes Montgomery’s composition Road Song opens the album and the rather unknown Be Deedle Dee Do was originally composed by Barney Kessel.  Other compositions are by John Clayton ( Grease For Graham), George Coleman (Father) and Lee Morgan ( Hocus Pocus), originally recorded for the 1963 Blue Note album The Sidewinder. Enjoy the great Graham Dechter Quartet in a live fragment, playing this tune Hocus Pocus

 I like the Dechter composition Together & Apart with a great opener on bowed bass by John Clayton – George Coleman’s Father is another favorite, like the standard Come Rain Or Come Shine which show both Jeff at his best -  at the brushes …..  But the one that hits me most, is the Jobim theme Chega de Saudade, better known as No More Blues with an almost classic piano "improvisation" by Tamir Hendelman - the quartet at its best 

Jazz as Jazz should be played.  A great album - a great band. This album can be ordered at the Capri Records site or at Graham Dechter's

Hans Koert

Last year Graham Dechter, a talented guitarist in his twenties, released his latest album Takin' It There with a dreamed rhythm section, featuring Tamir Hendelman at the piano, John Clayton on double bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. This is Jazz after my heart ...... This is Jazz as Jazz should be played!
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