John Hart's 'Exit From Brooklyn' (Zoho Music) Transforms Chestnuts Into Mighty Jams [REVIEW]
Guitarist/composer John Hart spent 30 years in Brooklyn where he met bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner. The three reconvene on Hart's Exit from Brooklyn (Zoho Music) for their fourth trio outing since 2000 on a beautiful 10-track project that makes chestnuts like "Here's That Rainy Day," "Just Friends (Lovers No More)" and "Where Or When" come alive again.
Hart wrote the title tune as a total groooooove. He wrote "Inside Out" as an accessible rhythmic exercise. All three musicians get to get their licks in on both. On Billy Strayhorn's gorgeous "Star Crossed Lovers," the trio plays it straight to bring out the inherent mystery and beauty of the author's vision.
Hart, as guitarist for 16 years with Brother Jack McDuff, played "April in Paris" so much, I'm sure he dreamed about its chord changes after each gig. It's a testament to the power of its melody by Vernon Duke (for the 1932 Broadway musical Walk A Little Faster) that he chose to revamp it here.
It's also a testament to the ever-lasting reach of Thelonious Monk [1917-1982] to think his music knows no instrument boundaries. Here's a guitarist who tips his hat to Monk in a song he wrote ("I Mean It!") as a breezy blues so his mates and he can jam. He also covers Monk's "Ask Me Now" and "Jackieing" where drummer Horner lets loose with what Hart in the liner notes calls a "melodic drum solo."
The exit from Brooklyn brought Hart to Miami where he currently resides as Director of Jazz Guitar Studies at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music.