STREET OF DREAMS is Scott Hamilton’s seventh recording for Blau Records and the fourth in Benicassim with the same band featuring the pianist Deena DeRose. Her musical bond with Hamilton achieves almost perfect harmony on this album, while Ignasi González on bass and Jo Krause on drums build a rhythmic section that enables Hamilton to move lyrically as the sound unfolds impeccably.
The repertoire is once again focused on the classic North American songbook of Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser, Nacio Herb Brown, Hoagy Carmichael, Chano Well …
“If a were bell” was written by Frank Loesser in 1950 for the Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls” and you may recall Jean Simmons singing it to a literally stunned Marlon Brando in the 1955 film version. A track so linked to Miles Davis’ career, who recorded it so often , that he has been regularly credited as the composer.
“Pure Imagination” is another example of how Scott Hamilton works with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the repertoire with a theme composed by Leslie Bricuse & Anthony Harvey for the movie” Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory “in 1971. In his intro Hamilton pronounces practically syllable by syllable the magic words that open the doors to a world of chocolate and wonder: “Come with me to a world of pure imagination …”.
“Sunny” is the well-known Bobby Hebb’s song of 1963 that some of us have whistled more than once. Originally a soul theme with hints of R&B, this happy and up beat tune was actually composed at a time when the author was going through a very rough patch . Here it’s played in a fast tempo with a great solo by Derose, and Hamilton closes it with a brief and stylish coda.
“Tin Tin Deo” co-written by Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie, as the famous “Manteca”. Pozo, was the first percussionist of Dizzy’s band and a key character for the “latin” feel of his music. The version here by Scott’s group echoes that Latin flavour.
“The Nearness Of You”, Hoagy Carmichael’s classic with lyrics by Ned Washington was composed in 1938. The theme deserves one of those historical Hamiltonian introductions: the saxophone surrounded by the expectant musicians’ silence up to the moment the piano opens the melody and the two instruments embrace in a delicate and somewhat fragile balance that takes them to some of the most exciting passages on the album.
“Street of Dreams”, an old foxtrot by Victor Young from 1932, which gives the title to the album, and completes the cycle of daydreams generously represented in this session (“If A Were A Bell”, “Sunny”, “Pure Imagination”, All I Do Is Dream Of You ” “Lucky To Be Me”). Warm and expressive, the song slowly fades out, leaving us behind with a mixture of both longing and reassurance.
“Lucky to be me” is Leonard Bernstein’s piece for both the musical and the movie “On The Town” (1949). It is the rapture and happiness of the individual in the crowd, of the energy, romance and joy of the sailor, Gene Kelly, on leave from his ship in New York. Another high from the Great American Songbook that sounds both immediate and elegant with Hamilton finding his way with ease around the multiple paths of this intelligent construction by Bernstein.
“All I Do Is Dream Of You” by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed and composed in 1934 for a Joan Crawford film, which reappears in none other than “Singing in the Rain” in 1952, sung by Debbie Reynolds. A song that has day-dreaming as its leitmotif and that here develops quickly from the very start, showing how the quartet has reached the perfect joining together of the musicians and the great freedom Hamilton and Derose display as it evolves.