Stompin' at the Savoy
Alex Hutchinson with Mickey Tucker & friends
This CD is a sort of celebration of my long term tenure at the Savoy park Plaza Hotel - formerly the famous Savoy Plaza.
My residency at the Savoy has been a pivotal point at this stage in my career. Accordingly, I express my thanks to the General Manager of the hotel, Mario Kuveke, and to the other members of the executive for their assistance in the recording of this album. Much thanks also to the staff at the Savoy and to everyone who has dropped in and shared our music over the last ten years
A thoroughly delightful recording of jazz standards by a collection of Melbourne's - no, Australia's - most well known and talented musicians.
It is led by the marvelous clarinetist Alex Hutchinson and on hearing (and knowing) the beautiful sound he makes it's immediately obvious that there are many years of playing and careful listening behind it. There really is no substitute for experience, for it adds a depth to music-making which suggests that it is through this experience one learns to eliminate the musical redundancy of the sometimes over-zealous 'early years'.How musically clever too, to engage the likes of Dave Beck on drums. He is already one of the most outstanding percussion players in the field of jazz. Also on this CD is the remarkable Mickey Tucker, the ex patriate American musician was once a member of both the legendary Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band. The other people you will hear are also fine musicians, indeed a lovely mix of older and younger generation players. As for singer Margaret Morrison, well, like many Australians who choose to live and perform in this country, she could sing anywhere in the world and be widely acclaimed.
Now, about Alex. What a great career this man continues to have. Fifty years of making music with some of the most famous names in the Australian and international music world. Consider for example the following taken from a very long and diverse list of artists: Ted Preston, Len Barnard, Frank Traynor, Julie London, Shirley Bassey. An extraordinary cast by any standards.
The music and the choice of works on this recording is entirely approachable, perhaps a better description is 'friendly' in the nicest sense of the term. How refreshing to hear performances which do not foist themselves upon the listener in any demanding way, but rather, ones which let things unfold gently and logically. And yet the underlying energy of all good jazz is clearly there, without the assault on one's senses which some other contemporary musics project.
And what a terrific choice of pieces 'a sort of celebration of my long term tenure at the Savoy park Plaza Hotel - formerly the famous Savoy Plaza...' And indeed it was famous. Some of us would remember Sarah Vaughan appearing there. I imagine when those who discover this CD and look at the tunes on it, for example, 'The Things We Did Last Summer', 'Darn That Dream', 'If I should Lose You' - they are all of that quality - and relate to the style, the period and the wonderful melodies, they will surely want it in their collection.
So, there are many joyous things about this recording. Alex's clarinet and alto saxophone playing, of course, but also the beautifully settled rhythm section, the other players, the pieces.
The overall product is a splendid example of Australian jazz making.
Tony Gould - March 2001
Dean, School of Music, VCA
© 2007 Jazz Legend Enterprises ®
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