On “Hope Springs Eternal” veteran East Coast pianist Bruce Barth is supported by a fine entourage consisting of Steve Wilson: alto/soprano saxophones/flute; Ed Howard: bass and Adam Cruz drums. The title cut leads off with Barth’s melodic touch and Wilson’s lush lyrical soprano. Barth is the pilot here as he’s prone to shift gears and investigate various avenues of melodic development while displaying enviable chops. Steve Wilson is a fine player and meshes well with Barth’s stylistic approach. Another Barth original composition “Hour Of No Return” is an up tempo burner. The rhythm section of Cruz and Howard are in superb form. They will jab and spar with Barth’s ever-evolving inventions. On “Hour Of No Return” Barth is the painter of colorful imagery. The pace is frenetic and eventually Wilson and Barth regroup to calm things down. Barth’s right hand is poetry in motion complimented by huge block chords. Steve Wilson cuts his alto to shreds in Barth’s “The Revolving Door” which is a bright, cheerful tune with a strong melody line. Barth’s “Up and Down” swings from the bottom up. Barth’s expressive and sweeping execution is at times reminiscent of McCoy Tyner; although, Barth’s identity is firmly established.
Bruce Barth is a fine pianist and should benefit from Double-Time Records esteemed producer/educator Jamey Aebersold. I look forward to hearing more from Barth in the near future.