Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

3

John Hart at The Turning Point Cafe

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
John Hart
The Turning Point Cafe
Jazz at The Turning Point Cafe
Piermont, NY
April 24, 2017

In the midst of a second week of suffering from a particularly virulent strain of the flu, John Richmond should be taking it easy. Moving in a sluggish manner, avoiding close contact with musicians and patrons alike, offering arm bumps instead of handshakes, and acting uncharacteristically subdued, he's nonetheless determined to host and play tenor saxophone throughout a Monday night session at The Turning Point Café. A one-man band in terms of organizing a series in its tenth year, Richmond knows that keeping jazz alive in Rockland County isn't a job for the weak-willed, and that the show won't go on without him.

Part of the enjoyment of attending jazz sessions at The Turning Point Cafe is the endearingly casual atmosphere that frames spirited, thought-provoking sounds. At one juncture Richmond offered a brief monologue on how certain phrases and short messages are best conveyed in one language only, and went on to mention that he speaks Italian and once made a living translating and interpreting. Following "How Deep Is The Ocean" a menu was passed around the bandstand, and hostess/bartender Kim approached the musicians to discuss the selections and take orders.

The night's performance marked the return of guitarist John Hart, formerly a fixture at New York City area jazz venues, and presently a lecturer at the Frost School of Music of the University of Miami. An abbreviated, four selection set prior to a jam session offered ample evidence that Hart's time in academia has not affected his prowess on the instrument. (For those who aren't familiar with Hart, I suggest checking out Exit From Brooklyn, Zoho Music, 2016, which captures the guitarist in excellent form.) A band consisting of bassist Earl Sauls, drummer Colby Inzer, and Richmond—whose vigorous solos showed no signs of malady—proved to be an able match for the guitarist.

As an improviser Hart juggles a lot of information, making it impossible to anticipate what direction he'll go in, or when he'll change course. Even while paying close attention, in an instant you often find yourself thrust into an unexpected place. For all of Hart's activity, empty spaces are as important as the notes. Conversely, the continuity built into his solos makes it easy to imagine a blueprint somewhere in his head that's above and beyond song forms and chord changes. During Milt Jackson's "Bags Groove," the set's opener, it was possible to isolate some of Hart's tendencies. A number of fast, slippery runs didn't end so much as released and left to their own devices. Transient blues phrases entered and exited in no apparent pattern. There was a short pause to let a measured, repetitive sequence sink in. Additional rapid-fire lines simply evaporated. Another recognizable phrase ended in an odd, somewhat dissonant chord.

By the time Hart initiated "Body and Soul," the set's final selection, it was certain that his long, convoluted, rubato introduction would eventually find its way to the song. About mid-way he started to reveal the tune's harmony, and eventually the melody emerged before he casually implied a tempo and handed things off to Richmond. Looking around the room, I was struck by the sight of several guitarists, cased instruments by their sides, hanging on to Hart's every note and itching to sit in.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon Live Reviews NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery Live Reviews Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery
by Jonathan Manning
Published: January 22, 2018
Read David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club Live Reviews David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest
by Tyran Grillo
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center Live Reviews Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center
by Geoff Anderson
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Vorcza at Nectar's Live Reviews Vorcza at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Rigas Ritmi 2017" Live Reviews Rigas Ritmi 2017
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Matthew Shipp Trio at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 19, 2017