on 27 December 2009
Whatever your opinions of Chico Hamilton (mine are mixed) 'The Dealer' is guaranteed sonic brilliance, in terms of both production and playing. It was the first jazz album I bought myself, and after a couple of listens I was hooked.
All the tracks are very different, and they are laid out in such a way that the album is perfectly paced. The brusque opener is followed by Archie Shepp's! piano leading a short boogaloo-styled number. The climdown from this initial energy to the appropriatley named 'A Trip' mean's that its churning psychadelia is fully appreciated. Larry Coryell is then the focus of two languid, easygoing blusey numbers. The slow and haunting vibe of 'A Trip' is then recaptured in the amazing 9-minuite 'Thoughts', a truly magnificent piece. The blustering, albeit tuneless, final track has its pros and its cons...
The bonus tracks are very interesting, with mostly different players to the LP. Their mood completley different to that of the main album, and more typical of Hamilton's other work. Like other Impulse! digipack reissues, the sound quality is amazing. It was originally produced by Bob Thiele, who I am led to believe was a big name in the field.
Larry Coryell, who I know nothing about, plays some truly amazing guitar throughout the album, giving a somewhat blues-rock feel to the album. What makes this interesting is that the album is in no way 'blues-rock'; if anything its jazz is free and avant-garde. The combination of these two very different vibes is probably what makes the album so interesting and worthwhile, well worth checking out.