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Pianist and composer Angelo Hart describes the music on his debut album Intrepid as an amalgam of avant-garde jazz, classicism, modernism and impressionism. Throw in the occasional touches of free jazz and the description is accuratethough daunting on paperand fairly successful upon listening. The Phoenix, Arizona native cites John Coltrane as an early influence but his creative method isn't allocated to any one source. Hart developed the pieces on this CD as he prepared to record them and they developed through a stream of consciousness process. That internal discourse, along with Hart's considerable technical skills have produced a unique and adventurous collection.
Fast tempos with torrents of notes and sporadic melodies are the basis for "Antares" and "The Air Above the Mountains" and to some extent, the title track. Hart's affinity for classical elements appears in the cinematic "Big Moment" while "Dreams of Memories" and "Fallen" are tranquil in their pastoral settings. The most interesting piece on Intrepid, the very solid "The Saga of a Majestic Galaxy," has a great melody and a bit of gospel inflection reminiscent of early Keith Jarrett. Two distinctly different pieces, the asymmetrical "New Psalm" and the serene "Solstice" are quite short and suffer a bit from rather abrupt fade-outs.
Hart's stated goal is to level-set a sound that is identifiably his own. He has a broad arsenal of the technical and compositional skills that should allow him to accomplish that objective. Hart uses Intrepid as a platform to demonstrate his ability to mix the unconventional with more traditional structure; razor-sharp sounds working with and against moments of reflection. There is an urgent and idiosyncratic tone in his playing that pushes in unexpected directions while he deftly holds the loose multiple structures together. There are times, however, on Intrepid when Hart's direction seems ambiguous; his thought process incomplete. Still, this remains a promising album and well worth a listen.
The Air Above the Mountains; Dreams of Memories; Antares; Solstice; Big Moment; The Saga of a Majestic Galaxy; New Psalm; Fallen; Intrepid.