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Stuart Hart: Inner Voice

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A new face on the fusion block, guitarist Hart draws on celebrated members of his Baltimore fraternity-drummer Dennis Chambers, bassist Gary Grainger, saxophonist Gary Thomas, fellow guitarist Paul Bollenback-for his debut as a leader. The influence of such guitar heroes as Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola, Scott Henderson and Frank Gambale can be heard in Hart’s distortion-laced, overdriven legato lines on such fiery originals as “Running Out of Woods” and “Instrumentality.” Thomas adds probing, muscular improvisations and crisp guitar-sax interplay on “Ernie’s Over,” “First Impressions” and “Right From the Right,” while Chambers provides the polyrhythmic punch behind “The Green Pedal” and “Speaquinox,” both of which feature some tightly interwoven lines and heated exchanges between Hart and Bollenback.

This album is not only an auspicious debut, it marks a comeback for Hart. After seven years of being sidelined with a career-threatening case of tendonitis-during which time he put his ax on the shelf and went to work for a mortgage banking company-the guitarist has returned to the music scene with a vengeance. Highly recommended for fusion fans.