Luqman Hamza – With This Voice Me

Luqman Hamza
With This Voice
(Groove Note – 2000)
by John Barrett

Here is a true flashback, a sound of older, more sophisticated days. Making his first records in 1953, Luqman Hamza has the smooth tenor voice of Charles Brown, and an airy, emotive piano style. He sounds brave on “Born to Be Blue”, trying to hide how he feels – but the piano lets us know. (So does Kim Park, blowing a dry alto sax.) The left hand pulsates on “Feeling Good”, and Luqman smiles, letting the words sink in. Park now has a flute, soaring like the butterflies of the lyric; the drums crack hard and everyone feels good. Including the listener.

His vibrato is magic: words flow like the tide, both wistful and warm. “My One and Only Love” has true emotion, and a sax solo worthy of Paul Desmond. Hamza goes deep on “Weaver of Dreams”, with resonant notes: the lyric warns of a temptress, but the voice seems very willing! “Blue Moon” is like a dance, as the cymbals whoosh and the guitar goes spinning. “Funny Valentine” follows, with sad strums but hopeful voice. With this man, all roads lead to love.

“Don’t Get Around Much” is pretty special. Luqman starts with the verse, and the guitar quotes “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me”! He relishes the wit of “What Does It Take”: each word is said delicately so you will be charmed. Park has a little sass this time, and charges through his best solo. Tyrone Clark tumbles his bass through “Just One of Those Things”, leading up to a torrid flute. (Park is consistently good on the disc; I wish his solos were longer.) “With These Hands” comes slow and sweet – the piano solo is especially touching. For those who love the old songbook, this album – also available on LP! – will seem like a feast.