New York-based jazz guitarist Andrew Hartman offers his second album as leader with the modern jazz-like Compass featuring nine originals and a newly-arranged rendition of the Paul Simon classic "America." The music is decidedly modern with a taste of the Brazilian and Indian musical influences. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Hartman moved to London, UK in 2011 where he worked as a freelance musician and teacher and during that time, the guitarist began working on a handful of compositions and arrangements that served as the basis for this album. After moving to the Big Apple, Hartman has become a fixture in the city's vibrant jazz scene which has become ground zero for the launch of this new recording.
One defining characteristic integral to the success of any recording, is the cast of players one surrounds themselves with and on that score, Hartman chooses wisely. The Hartman quartet is comprised of seasoned musicians like bassist Ike Sturm, drummer Zach Harmon and saxophonist of note, Chris Cheekall young lions of the business.
The project begins with two intricate musical pieces with "The Heights" and "Waiting" establishing the progressive textures and soaring melodies found throughout the set. Simon's "America" receives a new treatment with Cheek's tenor phrasings, Harmon's crashing cymbals and the leader's delicate chords dressing up the melody so to be almost unrecognizable. One of the standout pieces of the set is the peppery and swinging "Chic Korea" (notice the spelling) not to be confused with the great pianist Chick Corea as there is no piano in this band nevertheless, a terrific tune featuring solid solos from the saxophonist and leader.
The "Indian" musical influence is clearly present on "London Blues," while "Breaking Light" displays a tinge of the Brazilian flair and is another one of the many superb tracks contained herein. Other notable pieces include "For Marie Elaine," "New Day" and the finale tune "Family Tree." Kudos to guitarist Andrew Hartman for crafting such an engaging and exceptional work of art, Compass is a directional-setting musical indicator guiding Hartman and crew through the jazz landscape and on the right path to hopefully, some well-deserved attention.
The Heights; Waiting; America; Devices; Chic Korea; London Blues; For Marie Elaine; New Day; Breaking Light; Family Tree.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.