Hazelrigg Brothers
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Hazelrigg Brothers

Chalfont, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Chalfont, Pennsylvania, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Jazz Classic Rock



The best kept secret in music


"CD Review | The Hazelrigg Brothers “Songs We Like”"

Every now and then something surprising pops into your in-box that makes you sit back and say WOW – where did that come from! Last week I had this experience when a friend sent me an album from a group I’d never heard of. While that in it’s self is not surprising, here at Jazz In Europe we receive submissions each day from artists were not familiar with. What was surprising is the music contained on the album.

The Hazelrigg Brothers George and Geoff have been making music together for many years. Well versed in Classical, Early Music and Jazz, both brothers cross many genre boundaries and this can be heard in their approach to this album.

The Press release accompanying the album opened with the following:

“… it wasn’t until recently that the New Jersey-born siblings were certain that all of the elements they required were in place to cut an album of their own.”
This statement eludes to the “perfectionism” one hears on this album. The press release goes on in detail about the process the brothers went through to prepare for the recording both technically and musically. Geoff Hazelrigg, cites the jazz trio’s drummer, John O’Reilly Jr., as one reason the timing was right for a Hazelrigg Brothers album. “Until John, we really couldn’t find a drummer who could understand what we needed from that chair, and who was willing to adapt and evolve with what we were doing.”

Speaking of Perfectionism, another factor impacting on this album is the fact the Brothers are also the proprietors of Hazelrigg Industries, a company that manufactures high-end studio audio equipment. The press release goes on to say:

The brothers… held out until they’d developed the ideal recording situation in their own home studio. “We were struggling with the engineering part,” George says. “We didn’t feel that we were adequately capturing what was really happening in the room. It took years of trial-and-error before we came up with our current engineering techniques.”
Given the exceptional quality of sound on this album I can only say it was worth the wait.

The album is titled “Songs We Like” and includes treatments of songs that have personal meaning to the Brothers. While the concept of taking repertoire from other genre’s and re-imagining it as jazz is nothing new, it’s the approach to the repertoire chosen by the trio that makes this album in my mind unique.

Most of the tracks on the album are quite short, compared to the majority of jazz albums, with only one track reaching over the 5 minute mark. The arrangements are quite unique, and at times unconventional. Building on the legacy of Ahmad Jamal, it’s often difficult to ascertain where the arrangements stop and the improvisation begins. I don’t at all mean this in a negative way, the entire album is truly fascinating and keeps the listener on his or her toes for the entire program. Throughout the album, improvisational sections are interspersed with arranged passages resulting in the situation where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This album is tight and highly polished, I’m convinced DNA plays a roll here as both brothers appear to function as one finely tuned machine complimented by the superb playing of drummer, John O’Reilly Jr. - Jazz in Europe

"The Hazelrigg Brothers Take on the New American Songbook with “Songs We Like”"

For those who think that the Great American songbook is limited to the works of Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, Kahn, et al, then they are stuck in a time warp. While there is no denying the durability and constant source of inspiration that canon has produced, many of us grew up with our own Great American songbook, forged from the music and lyrics of rock, soul and pop music of the sixties and seventies. It is no surprise that contemporary jazz musicians are finding many of these gems, songs that still hold an appeal to younger audiences born years after they were first played, to be a news source of inspiration and interesting vehicles for improvisation. Songs We Like, a recent release from the Hazelrigg Brothers, is a case in point.

Following in the footsteps of artists like the Bad Plus or Brad Mehldau, and more ambitious outings like John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet, pianist George Hazelrigg and brother bassist Geoff Hazelrigg along with the intuitive drummer John O’Reilly, Jr. have offered a thoroughly entertaining set of nine contemporary readings of some songs that seem to lend themselves naturally to creative interpretation in the jazz trio format.

The compositions are as interesting as they are challenging. People who know the music well, often come to the music with expectations of how it should sound, but for the most part the Hazelriggs have managed to re-imagine these songs with enough fealty to the originals to satisfy even the most rabid purist. I found myself gleefully singing along with many of the tracks.

The songs run the gamut; chamber-rock from Jethro Tull, electric blues from Jimi Hendrix, Reggae-tinged pop from Men at Work, rock-jazz fusion from Steely Dan and contemporary pop from Sting; two from hard-metal rockers Led Zeppelin and one each from the classical composers Bela Bartok and Johann Fischer, makeup the slections.


The repertoire is fresh and played in an inspired impressionistic way. Jethro Tull’s “Living in The Past,” with Geoff’s dancing bass line introduction peppered with some rhythmically delicious tom work by drummer Reilly leads the way.

The Australian group “Men at Work,” whose reggae-inspired beats captivated the airways in the seventies, is represented by lead singer Colin Hay’s “Catch a Star.” The trio captures a stripped-down feel of the song, while carrying on a dynamic conversation amongst themselves. The only thing that is missing is the Australian’s haunting voice.

The music of Jimi Hendrix, long an inspiration to generations, is represented here by the psychedelia inspired “If 6 Was 9.” Who could expect to top the guitarist’s electronic wizardry or the sheer power of his dazzling virtuosity, but the Hazelrigg’s wisely do not attempt either. They strip the repeating bass line to its rhythmic, heart-throbbing core. The song is rendered as the three-chord blues it is, with some improvisational forays: an interesting off-to-the-races break, a featured drum solo of restrained polyphony and some weaving bass lines make for this interesting take on a Hendrix classic.

Bartok’s magisterial “Evening in the Country” features some animated, articulate pianowork by brother George, shimmering cymbal work by the understated Reilly and the buoyant bass of brother Geoff.

The piano opening on Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone,” is immediately recognizable and although the music cannot be expected to be as explosive as the metallic, heavy guitar-drum-centric original, the trio still pulls it off admirably with some excellent piano work by brother George building to a satisfying climax in a rumble of sound and fury.

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s music, the music of Steely Dan, is perhaps the music most easily adaptable to the jazz piano trio format and here on their “King of the World” it fits these guys like a glove. Isn’t this the way it was always played?

The trio returns to the classical realm with Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer’s “Passacaglia, from the Daughters of Zeus, Urania,” a pastoral composition that somehow gives the brothers a chance to show how classics can be modernly molded to fit the program without seeming at all out of place.

Sting’s “Spirit in the Material World” is played allegro with bassist Geoff adding some walking bass lines and some brief Arco accents. O’Reilly has a sixth sense as to what works when these two intuitive brothers build a head of steam.

The set ends with another Led Zeppelin composition, “What Is and What Should Never Be.” The trio treating this as a slow shuffle.

Songs We Like is an engaging recording that never strays too far away from the basic melodies that made these songs from the sixties and seventies so likeable and memorable in the first place. What the Hazelrigg Brothers and Mr. O’Reilly have shown is that they can also be the springboard for some inventive re-interpretation. - Huffington Post

"Los Angeles Jazz Scene - CD Reviews February 2018"

It has been done before, by the Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau among others, but it is still an intriguing concept. On their
debut recording, the Hazelrigg Brothers (pianist George and bassist Geoff) along with drummer John O’Reilly Jr.
have taken seven rock songs plus two classical melodies and turned them into swinging piano trio jazz.

While they have modernized some of the chord changes, the essence of the rock and classical themes are very much
present and recognizable. Whether performed originally by Jethro Tull (“Living In The Past), Jimi Hendrix (“If 6
Was 9”), Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan or Sting, the rock tunes (which are augmented by a melody apiece from Bela
Bartok and Johann Fischer) are given fresh and surprising treatments.

The Hazelrigg Brothers have achieved the perfect balance between paying respect to the original tunes and coming
up with fresh statements of their own, somehow bringing passion to the rock melodies despite the lack of a guitar or
any electronics. The tunes prove to be more flexible than one might expect, making Songs We Like a delight,
particularly for those who are familiar with the original recordings.

Songs We Like is available from www.hazelriggbrothers.com. - Scott Yanow


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


There’s nothing quite like the arresting clarity of tone, interpretive subtlety and forward-looking musical simpatico of the Hazelrigg Brothers, who’ve worked in an acoustic trio format for roughly 20 years. Based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the Hazelriggs pursued formal jazz studies but ultimately chose their own route. They’ve developed a unique harmonic outlook inspired, as much as anything, by their backgrounds in early music: George took up harpsichord (not piano) at age 3. Geoff plays viola da gamba. They’ve been known to play Renaissance music together in their spare time. “The traditions we relate to are hundreds of years older than what everybody thinks of as traditional now,” George quips. “And we came up playing rock and pop as well.”

The brothers are also proprietors of Hazelrigg Industries, which manufactures and markets high-end audio gear for the D.W. Fearn company. They record in their home studio and do production and session work for artists in the rock and pop world, including Shawn Wasabi, Shy Girls (a.k.a. Dan Vidmar) and Grammy-nominee 6lack. They are also both glider pilots. It’s an unusual and eclectic range of life experiences, no doubt responsible in some way for the Hazelriggs’ refreshingly plainspoken and modern trio sensibility.

Band Members