In 1996, Ed Hamilton had an extraordinary reception into the contemporary jazz world when his debut CD Planet Jazz, held firm on Gavin's Smooth Jazz chart for a solid six months. His music was heard in every major market. Inevitably, Hamilton’s subsequent record, Path to the Heartland, has been eagerly awaited.
Hamilton’s follow-up integrates countless musical influences. Following a short guitar cadenza, the album opens with the track “South Street Shuffle,” called a “funky little groove tune” by Hamilton. Eastern instruments flavor the title track with the appearance of sitars, Udu drums and Djmbes. “The Clock Ticks” features complimentary jazz and eastern influences, and the melody is played on several kinds of guitar, including the mandocello, mandolin and sitar. Hints of flamenco surface on the intimate “September Solitude,” while the high-energy “In the Cracks” has everyone pushing boundaries with hints of swing, hip-hop and bebop.
Path to the Heartland allows Hamilton to integrate a myriad of musical influences while maintaining constancy. His exceptional technique allows him to nail each passage with precision and intensity.