Friday, February 03, 2017

John Hart Exit From Brooklyn

John Hart
Exit From Brooklyn
Zoho Music

Moving to New York in 1984, fresh out of college, guitarist and composer John Hart initially landed in Brooklyn, although he eventually moved to the suburbs. In his notes to his new Zoho Music release, "Exit From Brooklyn," he mentions the vibrant jazz scene in that Borough which was part of his thirty years in the City experiencing virtually every facet of New York's jazz scene, including spending 16 years with organist Brother Jack McDuff. He met his partners in his trio, bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner, shortly after moving to New York, and while running into each other at apartment jam sessions and whatever, they formed a trio around 2000 and "Exit from Brooklyn" is their fourth CD together. Currently Hart is director of Jazz Guitar Studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and spends more time there, but this does not that affect his status as a performing jazz musician.

"Exit From Brooklyn" has the trio performing three originals and seven standards and from the opening rendition of "Here's That Rainy Day" to the closing "Where or When," there is much to enjoy from the leader's fleet fretwork and the support and solos from Moring and Horner. There are plenty of nice touches, such as the 6/8 rhythm for "Here's That Rainy Day," along with the twists and turns of his improvisation. In contrast, Hart's title track evolves and expands out of a riff Hart introduces at the beginning and on which Moring also solos and then followed by a lovely rendition of Billy Strayhorn's "Star Crossed Lovers," with Horner on brushes.

Another highlight is when Hart and trio interpret "April in Paris" that he performed with Jack McDuff. The performance here is based on the Wild Bill Davis arrangement of famous Count Basie recording, and in addition to some of Hart's choicest playing, Moring (a Basie alumni) solos and then Hart and Horner trade fours. Again on "Just Friends," one is impressed by the fresh twist Hart gives this familiar standard. More twists and turns are heard on an brisk original blues "I Mean It!," followed by two Thelonious Monk compositions including an exquisite rendition of "Ask Me Now." These are among the pleasures of "Exit From Brooklyn," that make it so appealing.

I received my review copy from a publicist. I do not believe this review has previously been published. Here is John Hart with a different rhythm section.

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