Monday, March 02, 2015

“The Away Road”
The new CD from Martin Hart

I have now had time to listen to Martins new CD, and “now’s the time” to write a bit about it.

Firstly it contains 7 tracks, and all the tunes have been written by Martin.

Secondly the music is divided into 2 different ensembles, a Septet, and a Quartet.

Anyone who has been to Hedsor on any of our jazz nights will have heard most of the musicians before as they are all regular favourites of ours at Hedsor Jazz. The cast list is as follows:-

The Quartet: Alan Grahame vibes, Ken McCarthy piano, Nick Pugh bass, Martin Hart drums.

The Septet: Stuart Henderson, Miles Hart trumpet and flugel horn, Mike Wills saxes, Clive Burton trombone, Nigel Fox keyboard, Phil Berry bass, Martin Hart drums

Musically my lasting impression of this collaboration is of rich harmonies. Whether it be the Septet or the Quartet the music is conveyed with a really rich sound. I was particularly impressed by the sound of the Quartet. With fewer people it is harder to convey that rich musical sensation, but here they do so really well. The Septet has an advantage in having more people to make up that richness and sounds, surprisingly, much more lie a big band.

It was also interesting to note that there is an 8-month gap between recording the 2 different groups, the Quartet being recorded earlier in 2014 than the Septet tracks.

For those of you who wont know the capabilities of “our” regular musicians be assured that in their individual ways they are all superb. Usually we are aware that Nigel Fox is a Bill Evans devotee, but here the tune that Martin has dedicated to Bill Evans has Ken McCarthy on piano! Stuart Henderson has long been a favourite trumpeter at Hedsor, and on this CD he again shines through. However, Martin has a homegrown trumpet player (who has appeared once or twice at Hedsor) in the shape and sound of his son Miles. Listen out for his muted solo on “The Last Goodbye”

All the musician, so well know to us at Hedsor, are well represented with solo space on these recordings. The recording itself is of good sound quality. I know some of you who read this will have some of the recordings I’ve made during live Hedsor Gigs but this is definitely a recording of real studio quality. So, even though you will not know the tunes before purchase, you will be able to have a recording of the kind of music we have offered to us each week at Hedsor in fine sound quality for the first time in a some of years (The Norden Farm Recording of the quartet under another name – Century Jazz, were made in 2003!).

One last comment. The final tune is entitled “Zane at The Hedsor Palisades”, which has puzzled me no end. I think it must signify a retreat, as according to Wikipedia “A palisade—sometimes called a stakewall or a paling—is typically a fence or wall made from wooden stakes or tree trunks and used as a defensive structure or enclosure”. So a retreat from a defensive wall. Why? Because, just as the full ensemble are getting going (with Mike Wills on clarinet), the band are faded out, and quickly too! I think that is a shame!

Ah well, you can’t have everything.

But you can have this CD, no doubt signed by some of the guys on it, especially if you come to it’s launch at the Hedsor Social club on Thursday this week, March 5th.

It will enable you never to miss the sound of Hedsor jazz, even when you are on “The Away Road”.

Geoff Cronin

No comments: