Bill Hart: Subject to Change (2008)
Guitarist Bill Hart's early training was fairly non-traditional. As a teenager, he spent time playing in theaters performing The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Little Shop of Horrors. Fascinated by the mathematical precision of music, Hart attended the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California, graduating with honors. Hart has studied under master guitarists including Mike Stern, Steve Khan, Wayne Krantz and Scott Henderson, and his true joy comes from playing his original compositions. Bill Hart has opened for jazz greats including Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Lou Rawls and Norman Brown.
Subject to Change ignites the fusion flame to explosive heights. Once again Hart collaborates with longtime friend and teacher Stern. This superb release combines jazz, blues, funk, rock and groove. The result is an uncompromising performance of nonstop stream electric guitar ecstasy.
"On My Way Home," leads the CD off with forceful rhythmic interaction between Hart and drummer Knight. The interaction between them is filled with sparked climaxes and fast-paced communication. Hart is a master of electric jazz, like contemporaries Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin; his solos are redolent of sustained tones and sliding phrases normally heard from horn players. However, in this ensemble there is the added bonus of power-driven sounds associated with rock.
"Sara's Song" is an emotionally emotive and musically rich piece inspired by Hart's eldest daughter and her journey into life. Born premature, Hart the diligent father stayed by her side for nine weeks in the hospital, bringing his guitar and writing music that ended up Watch the Sky (Orchard, 2001). Under the duress of uncertainty, >"Sara's Song" is the most poignant cut on Subject to Change..
"What Are You Doing" features Stern, the two guitarists painting the sound canvas with brilliant and vivid colors, strokes of slick burning guitar lines and aggressive multi-phonic patterns. The chemistry between them is almost like the kinship of non-spoken understanding and deep appreciation that twins.
"Cerchi Nel Grano" ends the disc on an upbeat note. A syncopated, funky feel gives sections of open space for each musician to fully express their musical voices. Hart's searing guitar lines coupled, with drummer Charles Marvray's powerhouse backbeat and percussionist Ahsa Ahla, give this cut an almost African overtone. It's an appropriate choice for the closing words of a well-rounded, well-conceived project.
Subject to Change is a triumphant release, a blend of searing chops, engaging melodies and infectious grooves, enhanced by Stern's inspiring sound on "What Are You Doing" and "This Is Why." The album exemplifies Hart's verve for guitar-driven melodies and further establishes his place among the top fusion guitarists of today.
Track Listing: On My Way Home; Look Out for June; Jim Gillian; Sara's Song; Anna Banana; Loose Gravel; Subject to Change; You're Next; Canadese Aricano; What Are You Doing; This is Why; Inside Out; Spazio Aperto; It's Working; Cerchi Nei Grano.
Personnel: Bill Hart: electric and nylon-string guitars; Mike Stern: electric guitar; Enrico Galetta: electric bass; Tom Knight: drums; Ahsa Ahla: percussion; Gary Wilkins: electric bass; Charles Mavray: drums); Jef Van Veen: drums.