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Billy Hart/Ethan Iverson/Mark Turner/Ben Street: All Our Reasons

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Drummer Billy Hart’s current quartet lineup has been together since 2003, working steadily for most of that time; All Our Reasons, however, is only their second album (and first for ECM). It follows their 2005 debut, Quartet, a rhythmically forthright effort that succeeded on a blend of bebop and free aesthetics substantially informed by the work of Keith Jarrett’s American quartet. But while its members-Hart, pianist Ethan Iverson, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Ben Street-have kept busy recording with other projects, this band has spent six years developing in studio silence.

That gap is an important consideration when examining All Our Reasons. The sophomore recording is so different from its predecessor that it’s hard to believe they’re by the same ensemble. Both echo the abstraction of Jarrett’s American quartet, which both Iverson and Turner have often cited as an inspiration. But where Quartet found earthiness in that abstraction, Reasons homes in on its ethereal aspects, rendering nine sublime, ruminative tracks that are as stark and atmospheric as the cover photograph, an arty shot of the Empire State Building that is quintessentially ECM.

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