Richie Hart leads a stellar band that captures the classic guitar/organ combo sound accurately with a swinging groove. His original compositions ensure that jazz and blues will find a comfortable seat every time his unit takes the stage.
With his trio, Hart interprets "Sandu" in a classic repose. His guitar brings back the song's original feeling. Swinging lightly and improvising spontaneously, he sends lyrical phrases spinning this way and that. By including a delicious bass solo and trading fours with the drummer, Hart has applied the basic concepts of modern jazz to his arrangement.
Because Hart performs without pick, his sound remains velvety smooth. Wes Montgomery and George Benson serve as his greatest influences. Hart, an Associate Professor of Jazz Guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston, caresses a ballad melody such as "Georgia on My Mind" or Lalo Schifrin's "Theme From The Fox" with its natural essence. His seamless phrasing makes each melodic fragment shine.
Gerry Niewood adds a colorful tenor presence on "Autumn Leaves" and John Coltrane's "Black Pearls." Hart seems to enjoy the interplay as guitar and saxophone weave their melodies spontaneously. Niewood and Hart share an adventurous nature but remain focused on their mutual respect for tone quality.
Hart's medley of songs from West Side Story , performed a cappella, includes "Somewhere" and "Tonight" in a lovely soliloquy that easily captures the heartfelt passion those songs convey. If you've never been in love before, this is the place to start. Recommended, Richie Hart's Blues In The Alley has a place for all lovers of jazz and blues.
Personnel: Richie Hart- guitar; Rick Petrone- bass; Joe Corsello- drums, percussion; Pete Levin- keyboards; Gerry Niewood- tenor saxophone on "Black Pearls" and "Autumn Leaves."