The retired landscape architect and land planner from southern New England also treats area jazz societies at least once a year to appearances by his Underheard Herd. That band includes a few mainstays - former Ellington bassist John Lamb and pianist Dick Reynolds, who was the house pianist at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago for many years.
|Dick Hamilton, Jim Wellen|
On Friday, February 22, his Underheard Herd performed for the South County Jazz Club in Venice FL. Besides Lamb and Reynolds, it included trombonist Dick Hamilton, tenor saxophonist Jim Wellen and singer Debbie Keeton. There were also two unexpected treats who had found their way onto Hixon's musical radar at 15 South.
The afternoon featured a lot of band flexibility. There were some quintet pieces, a few quartet pieces featuring one of the horn players with the rhythm section, some solo piano artistry from Reynolds, and even some solos or duos by Lamb, the latter with Wellen.
- Reynolds' classically-tinged exploration of "My Funny Valentine," mining a lot of fresh nuances from this jazz staple.
- Hamilton's features, which underscored his talent as a top-notch jazz arranger: "I Thought About You" and Harold Arlen's "A Sleepin' Bee."
- Kreitner's versions of "If I Were a Bell" and "No Greater Love" with the trio.
- Aaron's beautiful flute work on "Beautiful Love" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." He was enjoying the 85-degrees and sunny afternoon in Venice, noting it was -7 in Milwaukee that morning.
- Wellen's breezy bossa nova take on "All or Nothing at All" and his center-stage tenor-bass duet with Lamb on "Pick Yourself Up."
|Al Hixon, John Lamb|
The concert was held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice.
|Hamilton, Keeton, Reynolds, Wellen|
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