Antonio Hart: Here I Stand
Young alto player Antonio Hart seems to have spiced up his reverence for Cannonball Adderley with the more peppery fire of Arthur Blythe. Not a bad combination, but Hart's Impulse debut still leaves something to be desired. There's no shortage of professional, competent performances here, and his quartet is equally capable. Even guests like trombonist Robin Eubanks and the under-recorded Shirley Scott make brief, underwhelming appearances. Hart's lackluster originals and the variety of different groups make it clear that this is one of those records that attempts to showcase the leader's diversity hard bop ("The Community"), Latin ("Ven Devoroiame Otra Vez"), Woody Shaw-like Latinized modes ("Brother Nasheet"), basic blues ("Like My Own") and a (yuck) hip hop beat-jazz poetry reading ("The Words Don't Fit In My Mouth").
It never feels as if you're listening to one session by one artist. "Flamingo," the disk's sole standard, stands out due to Ms. Scott's support on organ. It is the easily the most interesting track here and Hart sounds more inspired this time out than he does elsewhere on his own tunes. It's a shame the talented Hart didn't stick with the organ combo throughout Here I Stand. It would have made this hodge podge sampler worth more than one listen.