John Hart – Resonance
(Steeplechase- 31948. Album review by Frank Griffith)
Florida-based guitarist John Hart was a longtime resident in NYC from 1984-2012, before relocating to Miami for the post of Head Of Jazz Guitar at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. His NYC years found him working with the likes of Jack McDuff, Bob Belden, Maria Schneider, Chris Potter, Teramuso Hino, Bill Bruford and Brian Blade.
His recording debut kicked off auspiciously in 1998 with One Down for Blue Note. Many CDs would follow on iconic labels, Concord, Hepjazz and Steeplechase.
He has just released Resonance (2023) on Steeplechase, his fifth date for the legendary Danish label headed by Nils Winther. Labelmate, tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, joins him along with organist Brian Charette and longtime collaborator Steve Johns handling the percussion duties. The breadth and eclecticism of Resonance’s playlist is plainly evident from Hart’s illustrious recording pedigree. We hear a refreshing mix of five originals and four standards.
Fred Ahlert’s I’ll Get By lopes along effortlessly with Charette’s “first out of the blocks” solo- inspired by 1960s organists, Don Patterson and Jimmy Smith. Similarly, Fred Coots’ wartime torch ballad, For All We Know gets a seven minute trio treatment that steadily evokes the melancholic bathos of the song. Subtle, yet driven with a quiet and undying passion.
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New Jersey based veteran NYC drummer, Steve Johns kicks off Hart’s Act Riot with an arresting intro setting up the excitement to follow on this uptempo blues. Johns’ trading phrases with the soloists brings about a Riotous Act to a climactic denouement.
Richard Rodgers’ Spring Is Here brings out Perry’s plaintive and vibrato less cry throughout his unique interpretation. Its medium Latinised feel scores effectively as a ballad that converts to a faster tempo. Perhaps due to its “long noted” melody ( a paucity of crotchets and quavers) enabling it to float freely over a variety of grooves.
Resonate resonates…and how. Mucho bravos to John Hart and his bandmates for providing jazz guitar fans with a refreshing and inspired offering which exhibits the time-honoured legacy of the instrument.
Frank Griffith is a Liverpool based saxophonist and arranger. His weekly radio show, THE JAZZ CAVERN broadcasts on http://www.purejazzradio.com