David Hazeltine · The Time Is Now Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: October 26, 2018 For more information on David Hazeltine, please visit: DavidHazeltine.com
Photo Credit: Damon Smith
Pianist/Composer David Hazeltine Brings a Long-Held Dream to Fruition with Two Fellow Jazz Masters, Bassist Ron Carter and Drummer Al Foster, for The Time Is Now
We all have it: that nagging list of things we’ve been meaning to get to, projects we’ve been thinking about for years, goals that we just keep putting off for another day. With The Time Is Now, pianist/composer David Hazeltine decides to finally seize the moment and bring one of his long-delayed dream projects to fruition. The new album, available now on Smoke Sessions Records, finds one of the top pianists of his generation forging an impeccably swinging partnership with two other masters: bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster.
As usual, it took a heady dose of reality to inspire Hazeltine to take this trio outing off of the back burner and bring it to life. Nearing his 60th birthday (which will coincide with the release of the new record), Hazeltine faced a health scare that forced a change in perspective. Realizing that there’s no time like the present, he insisted on finding a time in three very busy schedules when these great artists could share some time in the studio.
These men all come directly from the straight-ahead jazz tradition; though Hazeltine is a generation younger than his two bandmates, he spent many years working with such giants of the music as Sonny Stitt, Chet Baker, Eddie Harris, and Buddy Montgomery. He’s since become one of the leading torchbearers for that estimable standard, both on his own and through his work with the swinging super-group One For All. His efforts have made him one of the most-streamed straight-ahead jazz artists alive today, and he’s passing his knowledge onto new generations through his teaching, clinics and online workshops.
On this occasion, Hazeltine had no interest in reinventing the wheel, but set out to create amazing music from familiar ingredients – just as Carter and Foster have done throughout their remarkable careers. “I’ve always thought of creating music – and perhaps all art – as a way to impose order on a chaotic world,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to make beautiful the not always beautiful human condition, and I was so happy to finally have Ron and Al to do it with me!”
Those qualities are on full display throughout The Time Is Now, from the tasteful elegance of Hazeltine’s title track through the blistering closer “Signals,” a showcase for Foster’s crisp attack and mighty sound. While he had spent countless hours listening to both men’s work, and had a good deal of experience playing with Foster, Hazeltine faced a daunting task in writing for the trio – the three had, after all, never worked together as a band, and he’d only shared the studio with Carter on one other occasion.
“I wanted to do something new and push myself out of my comfort zone when composing and arranging for this recording,” he says. “I’d never recorded trio with Ron and Al and I knew that I wanted the music to be above all beautiful, swinging, and harmonically interesting, yet not overly arranged. That would allow the three of us to do what we do best: creating and improvising on a framework.”
Finally having the chance to hear these three masterful musicians conversing together, one may regret that it hasn’t happened sooner, or more often. But in the hands of such visionary and skilled artists, The Time Is Now is a notion that’s always true – no matter the time.
"The Time Is Now" was produced by Paul Stache and Damon Smith and
recorded live in New York at Sear Sound's Studio C on a Sear-Avalon custom console
at 96KHz/24bit and mixed to ½" analog tape using a Studer mastering deck.
Available in audiophile HD format.
David Hazeltine · The Time Is Now
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: October 26, 2018
For more information on David Hazeltine, please visit: DavidHazeltine.com