Search - Billy Hart :: Quartet

Billy Hart
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

In sports, they call them "intangibles"--hard-to-define qualities that help make a team or player rise to the top. The word comes to mind in assessing this ultra-sharp, mood-shifting album by veteran drummer Billy Hart's q...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: Billy Hart
Title: Quartet
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Highnote
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 8/1/2006
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Smooth Jazz, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 632375715823

In sports, they call them "intangibles"--hard-to-define qualities that help make a team or player rise to the top. The word comes to mind in assessing this ultra-sharp, mood-shifting album by veteran drummer Billy Hart's quartet, which passes the listener's litmus test with its tightness and tenacity and the depth of its material, while scoring extra points with the special chemistry of the players. In fact, the foursome used to perform under the joint leadership of the pianist Ethan Iverson and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Now nominally led by Hart, a stream of consciousness stylist who has performed on countless sessions with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Gerry Mulligan, and Joe Lovano but recorded only seven previous times under his own name, the band breathes offbeat urgency and mystery into songs including Iverson's moody blues "Mellow B," Hart's darkly lovely "Lullaby for Imke" and a pair of full-tilt jazz classics, John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" and Charlie Parker's "Confirmation." Iverson leaves behind the hard-knuckled approach he takes with the Bad Plus, but not his adventurous harmonies. Turner departs his reputation as a stealth soloist to cut loose to sometimes thrilling effect. The fine bassist is Ben Street. --Lloyd Sachs

CD Reviews

Billy Hart among his peers . . .
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

". . . even if they're a generation removed.

Originally billed as the Mark Turner/Ethan Iverson Quartet (the pianist-leader a member of the mega-hyped Bad Plus, and the saxophonist co-leader a young lion of note), this band, according to the liner notes, became the Billy Hart Quartet after a week at New York's Vanguard jazz club.

Which is only fitting. The drummer-leader, with over 300 sideman and seven leader discs under his belt, was the logical choice for top billing. He more than admirably acquits himself on this disc with a plurality of tunes (four) and a deep vibe that could only be his. That his fellow music-makers (Ethan Iverson, piano; Mark Turner, tenor sax; and Ben Street, bass) recognize his leadership only solidifies their standing in the jazz pantheon.

What we've got here is a fairly standard sounding modern jazz quartet. But wait. Isn't there some way weird ur-jazz thing happening? Yes, there is. Far from your ordinary sax-piano-bass-drums date, there's a kind of special mojo at work here, something that only happens when young lions at the top of their game encounter a jazz great, such as Billy Hart.

That players of such renown as Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner, and Ben Street would acquiesce to a jazz warrior of such stature as Billy Hart indicates that egos are set aside so that true jazz greatness may emerge. And emerge it does.

From the opening moments of the initial cut, "Mellow B," a blues by Iverson, to the reconfigured standards "Moment's Notice" and "Confirmation," there's a depth of music-making rarely encountered in this age of instant-gratification jazz.

This is contemporary jazz of the highest accomplishment. Highest recommendation."
Great Set
Lawrence L. Powell | Weston, Fl | 10/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"J. Dennis is right. A very, modern, moving, excellently played set of music. In a category of its own. It will be best enjoyed by lovers of jazz. Top notch musicians. Long live Billy Hart."
Don't hesitate to pick this up
David Conklin | Albuquerque, NM USA | 02/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This may be one of the finest modern (at least post-1970) jazz albums I've heard. The Quartet plays with great chemistry, and each musician contributes mightily. The whole things sounds like an extended suite, but the music is constantly changing and never monotonous. As you'd probably expect, it's very well recorded and sounds great. Saxophonist Turner's extended note near the start of Track 2 is, shall we say, classic. This is jazz in its purist sense, with little or no rock influence."