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July/August 2002

John Hart Trio
Scenes from a Song
HEP Records

An alum of the Brother Jack McDuff University of Jazz Guitar, John Hart can burn his way through blues changes on a level that's right up there with fellow graduates like Pat Martino, George Benson and Mark Whitfield. But instead of giving in to the temptation of falling back on that experience, he stresses stylistic versatility and breadth on Scenes From a Song (Hep Jazz), a trio effort that also features the considerable abilities of bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner.

Sonically, Hart's main instrumental voice sticks closely to the straightahead jazz guitarist party line that favors clean and warm tone; however, he does mix things up a bit with electronic effects ("Slacker's Hideaway," "Obelisk"), which are tastefully used for compositional contrast, and he even switches to nylon-string guitar for a delicate reading of Ellington's "Melancholia." Arguably the most subtly surprising moments arise over the course of well-honed originals like "Parable Part I," which finds him playing open and airy, a contrast to his usual fluid but busy approach.

Originally published in July/August 2002
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