John Hart, Euphoria, SteepleChase ****

What a precise quartet affair this is. Led by mainstream guitarist John Hart (I kept thinking of Jim Hall when listening to his fine mix of originals and standards) who is with pianist Jim Ridl, double bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner. …

Published: 26 Jan 2022. Updated: 3 months.

What a precise quartet affair this is. Led by mainstream guitarist John Hart (I kept thinking of Jim Hall when listening to his fine mix of originals and standards) who is with pianist Jim Ridl, double bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner. But glancing at the standards ('Panonica,' 'I Didn't Know What Time It Was,' 'Out of Nowhere,' 'Lover Man,' 'Body and Soul,' 'With a Song in My Heart') you might think we have been down this familiar road many times before. And yet the quartet manage to draw out things you never heard in the standards before. Certainly Hart's intricate harmonic ingenuity and the steady beat that Martin Wind provides time and time again are part of the winning formula. And the originals, especially 'Area 51,' fit well and actually win over most on an album that proves that you do not have to shout the loudest to be really heard.

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Philip Catherine, Paulo Morello, Sven Faller, Pourquoi, Enja ****

Dazzling guitar craft here but it's not only that: it's the mood and setting, an album that seems to scoop up a lifetime of playing and then say something about what's been gained or lost along the way. From Belgian guitar master Philip Catherine …

Published: 25 Jan 2022. Updated: 3 months.

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Dazzling guitar craft here but it's not only that: it's the mood and setting, an album that seems to scoop up a lifetime of playing and then say something about what's been gained or lost along the way. From Belgian guitar master Philip Catherine with fellow guitarist Paulo Morello and bassist Sven Faller it's fairly stripped back and yet there is a lot of momentousness in the feel of the record which is led off by Catherine piece 'Pourquoi'. Most of the tracks are by Catherine or Morello with a version of Frédéric Devreese's 'First Waltz', 'Frontera' by Nicola Andrioli and Jobim's 'Inútil Paisagem' in addition. Overwhelmingly there's a certain lostness, whether it is the jazz you don't often hear any more or the memories of a time gone by, that the music seems to convey beautifully here, an exquisiteness in the bittersweet feel to 'Frontera' for instance that's captivating. A must.