Billy Hart Quartet Village Vanguard New York, NY June 3, 2014 What does it take for an esteemed veteran drummer to get his due as a leader? In the case of the great Billy Hart, it seems that a pair of albums under his name on the ECM imprint--All Our Reasons (ECM, 2012) and One Is The Other (ECM, 2014)-- helped to do the trick. Hart, who's been around the block more than a few times, cooked behind organist Jimmy Smith early in his career, added settled and unsettled rhythms to ...read more
The ubiquitous drummer Billy Hart brings a special energy to the many projects of which he is a part. A band leader, composer and educator, he's been on hundreds of albums. He has taken the stage with countless bands, adding his rhythmic pulse to formations led by a litany of the biggest names in the business. And at each concert, when Hart is being introduced by whomever the leader--Christian McBride, Eliane Elias, Joe Lovano, the Cookers--they always do so beaming with pleasure. It never fails. It's always done with a sense of genuine warmth. They know Hart has ...read more
There's little doubt about the value of longevity and ongoing musical relationships. It's been nearly a decade since Billy Hart assembled the group that would turn out to be his longest-standing, releasing Quartet (HighNote) in 2006. But it was with 2012's All Our Reasons that the drummer moved to ECM, reaping the benefits of the label's renowned attention to detail. It's also facilitated an accelerated release rate; after a six year gap between the first two records, One is the Other comes just two years later, continuing to capitalize on the strengths and evolving chemistry of a quartet that's clearly ...read more
Billy Hart QuartetPhiladelphia Art AlliancePhiladelphia, PAMarch 20, 2013The music of the Billy Hart Quartet demonstrates a thorough amalgamation of intriguingly disparate musical elements which retains both the mastery of a group of accomplished veterans and the perpetually transformative nature of a leader dedicated to a lifetime of artistic pursuits. The ensemble, consisting of drummer Hart, bassist Ben Street, pianist Ethan Iverson and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, has been Hart's working band since 2003.The selections on this night came from the band's most recent release, All Our Reasons (ECM, 2012). Within ...read more
In a career spanning work with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and trumpeter Miles Davis to pianists Tommy Flanagan and Marian McPartland, drummer Billy Hart has pretty much seen it all, from the most centrist mainstream to the outer reaches of free playing and beyond. But as he approaches 72 later in 2012, there's one thing Hart hasn't done--until now. All Our Reasons represents the first time the veteran drummer has reunited the same band as on a previous recording, in this case, his well-received 2006 HighNote debut, the simply titled Quartet . Moving to a different label doesn't always mean change, ...read more
If, indeed, albums are living breathing beings--and this might well be so--then the beating heart of Five on One, by the marvelous Contact ensemble, is Lost Horizon," a mighty, burbling piece of music that appears to come from a cornucopia of modern sound. It is mysterious, magical and hypnotic, and brings waves of sound that lap incessantly into the inner ear with that warm undertow made memorable by five of the most eminent musicians of this day. Incandescent saxophonist Dave Liebman melds undulating sound with the mellifluous tonal palette of guitarist John Abercrombie. Both these men make their harmonies dance ...read more
Five on One features five of the most renowned artists in modern jazz working together as a cooperative ensemble under the name Contact. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Marc Copland, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Billy Hart transcend the aesthetic limitations of many similar all-star gatherings with their complementary sensibilities, garnered over the years in various configurations.
Although this is the first time all five musicians have worked together, their paths have crossed many times before, most recently on Copland's Another Place (Pirouet, 2008). Abercrombie and Liebman were founding members of the early seventies fusion septet ...read more