"Imprints" among top 3 New Jazz Albums recommended along with Branford Marsalis in 2014!

Review By Michael Verity/About Entertainment

November 2014

"Almost everything about this record is refreshingly simple. It arrived with little fanfare, just a disc in an envelope, without a stack of paper or a heap of hyperbole. The front cover is a surrealist portrayal of a kid on an airport runway, throwing paper airplanes. The back cover is simple gray with a list a songs and a list of personnel. It’s the personnel part of the equation that’s not so simple. This is a piano trio album played by a piano duo, with Hakim playing both double bass and piano and Matt Slocum playing drums. Purists might think the interaction of piano and bass -- so essential to the trio format -- would fall flat from an overdub approach but the results are quite the opposite. Songs like the soothing “Against The Waves,” the pensive “Unbroken” and the thoughtful “Ghosts And The Poet” all come together flawlessly, speaking to the melodic approach of Bill Evans and the chordal ideas of the late Oscar Peterson catalog, presented with a touch of new jazz, as well. If it weren’t for the notation on the cover, you’d never know this is a duo rather than a trio. It’s a very mellow record -- most of the tunes are ambient, atmospheric, soothing -- but a fine listen for those looking for a bit of contemplative jazz. Heartily recommended."

Review By George Harris/Jazz Weekly

December 2014

"If you like your jazz trios filled with lyricism and melody, you’ve got a friend here in Joe Hakim. It’s actually not quite a “trio” per se, as Hakim plays both piano and bass (not simultaneously) along with Matt Slocum’s conversational drums. The three way interplay on pieces such as “Ghosts And The Poet” and “Against The Waves” demonstrate a romantic touch on the piano ivories as well as a La Faro-like extrapolation on the bass. There is enough room for improvisation on material such as “The Road Behind Us” and “Unbroken” but the excursions feel more a part of an organic whole, and not just a simple “mow, blow and go” run through the changes. Hakim’s craft with a pen on “As You Were” suggest and almost orchestral approach to the piano, as Slocum directs and responds with symbiotic work on the drums and cymbals. Hints of modern piano romancers like Evans and Jarrett pop up occasionally, but Hakim’s touch is actually all his own, and it’s one worth listening to."

Review By Scott Yanow/Los Angeles Jazz Scene

February 2015

"While much of pre-1980 jazz is fairly easy to give a specific name to (such as swing, bop, free jazz or fusion), most of the jazz performances of the past 35 years, other than those purposely played in a historic style, are very difficult to classify as anything but “modern jazz.” Joe Hakim’s Imprints (available from www.joehakimmusic.com) sounds like a melodic and quietly explorative live performance by a trio, at least until one realizes that Hakim (who is joined by drummer Matt Slocum) is featured throughout playing both piano and bass. While it may not technically be a live set, the ten renditions of Hakim’s songs sound spontaneous and will appeal to fans of Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, and Keith Jarrett. The interpretations are lyrical, often taken as thoughtful ballads, and are full of rich melodies and introspective interplay by Hakim, Hakim and Slocum. Joe Hakim is equally skilled on piano and bass, bowing very effectively on the title cut. This is a recommended set that grows in interest with each listen."

Review By Dick Metcalf/Improvijazzation Nation

April 2015

"Joe does keyboard and double bass on this great little recording, joined by Matt Slocum on drums; very interesting and quite persuasive for the jazz listener.  The pacing on all ten tunes is excellent, and the recording is crystal-clear… well done, especially on tunes like “Ghosts And The Poet“… it won’t totally blow you away, but it will stay in your head for days!  I truly loved the bass work on the beautiful (and emotional) “Across The River“… and I have no doubt you will too (Matt’s drums weave wonderfully with the bass on this track, too).  If you want to “discover” something magical in the music you listen to, you’ll certainly appreciate my personal favorite piece of the 10 offered up, “Seek and Find“… this is a fine jazz set, and Joe/Matt get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me for listeners who love well-played jazz. "