How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
First of all, ignore the spacey, futuristic cover photo and zodiac-theme song titles. They are nothing more than marketing mumbo-jumbo and bear little relation to the musical content. What we have here is a pianist who has done some nice work as a sideman with Antonio Hart (Here I Stand) and Sherman Irby (Full Circle), but sounds out of his depth on this CD — his debut as a leader. Throughout Dark Grooves-Mystical Rhythms, Hurt’s piano lines are often smothered by a thundering bassman and the jackhammer drumming of, at various times, Nasheet Waits, Ari Hoenig and Eric McPherson. Guest stars Antonio Hart (Alto/Soprano) and Greg Tardy (Tenor) suffer a similar fate, as they strain to be heard above the rhythmic din. The occasional time that James Hurt does find a groove, it seems to be a case of good luck, as opposed to good management. A scrambled, rather annoying first effort! (##)