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On This Day
Clint Hoover Trio

Harmonica Educator
Harmonica Happenings
Harmonica World

CD and Tracks: CD Baby
Tracks: iTunes
Song Name (Composer)
1. Cheesecake (Dexter Gordon)
2. Blesette (Jean "Toots" Thielemans, Norman Gimbel)
3. Lament (J. J. Johnson)
4. Sister Sadie (Horace Silver)
5. Witch Hunt (Wanye Shorter)
6. Swingin' Shepherd Blues (Moe Koffman)
7. Joy Spring (Clifford Brown)

Harmonica Happenings
by Charles Spranklin
Winter 2008 issue

There was a period in my harmonica life that I was unaware of Clint Hoover. How sad for me. A few years ago at a SPAH convention, it was decided that a seminar on jazz would be a hit with the mass of harmonica playing attendees. Five noted jazz players were enlisted to form the panel. Clint Hoover was designated as frontman for the group. I knew all of the other members, but who was Clint Hoover?

The audience was seated, the players assembled in a row on stage. Clint greeted the crowd and announced a kickoff number to goose the seminar to life. Clint started the round. Oh my. It was then I found out who Clint Hoover is. I became an instant fan of this really fine jazz player.

His first album, Dream of the Serpent Dog, was a joy for me to hear. Clint is the real thing as a jazz player, no ifs ands or buts about that. I spent a lot of time with that album. I haven’t come close to tiring of it.

I pestered Clint for a schedule for his next album. It took awhile, but finally, The Clint Hoover Trio’s On This Day is here and it is more than worth the wait. It is jazz triumphantly spilled through a harmonica by a sensitive, imaginative, assertive artist.

This new Clint Hoover Trio album features Clint on chromatic harmonica with a taste here and there of some hot diatonic work. David Hupp is on piano and Eric Graham is on upright bass. “What, no drums?” Clint said he didn’t need drums. Come to think of it, with this trio, I didn’t miss them either. These three guys make a big sound.

Try as I may, I can’t come up with a favorite from the song list; they are all equally riveting jazz performances. True, a number of the selections are not familiar to me, but that’s just me. What I have missed out on doesn’t dampen my experience of them.

On This Day kicks off with a cool Dexter Gordon piece called Cheesecake. The trio establishes the theme, then Clint and the guys jam for a swinging 6 and a half minutes, a great way to launch off an album.

Next is the Toots Thielemans classic chestnut Bluesette. The top of their arrangement seems to have nothing to do with the familiar theme, but soon does a really classy transition that reveals Bluesette. Nicely done guys! Then the group spends the next 10 minutes jamming their hearts out on Toots’ masterpiece. I think Toots will love it.

Lament from J.J. Johnson is a change of pace that allows Clint to show off his great phrasing and feel for a captivating ballad. It’s really pretty stuff that flows for 9 and a half minutes. It’s a special musical treat.

Off we go with a hot arrangement of a Horace Silver piece called Sister Sadie, this time with Clint riffing his diatonic harp. It’s hot stuff for sure.

The jamming continues with Witch Hunt from Wayne Shorter: another 10 minutes of neck thrusting, toe tapping chromatic harmonica jam. It’s jazz, jazz, jazz.

Did we think that Clint would leave out the blues? Well, he doesn’t. Moe Kauffman’s Swinging Shepherd Blues is the choice. More diatonic harmonica? NO! It’s back to the chromatic for Clint, a gutsy decision considering the diatonic is the norm for blues. With Clint in charge, the chromatic works for me.

Always leave ‘em in a happy musical mood is the rule. And happy it is with Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring. I’m writing this review at 3:10 a.m. Clint, Eric and David are wailing on this swingin’ piece that is going to send me strutting my way upstairs to bed as soon as I cap off the joy of having had this album playing behind my typing, motivating the tempos of my key taps.

If you are a jazz nut, especially a harmonica jazz nut, there is no way you should miss out on this album. The Clint Hoover Trio is as good as it gets, this album, On This Day is an absolute must. It’s a jazz offer you can’t refuse.
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