Billy Hart Quartet – One Is The Other

one is the other(ECM 375 9733)

This is the same multi-generational band that made the wonderful All Our Reasons, released in 2012. With the veteran drummer who can list stints with Otis Redding, Stan Getz and Herbie Hancock on his lengthy CV are Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Ethan Iverson on piano and Ben Street on double bass.

This album, recorded nearly 12 months ago in Avatar Studios, New York, again mixes Hart’s compositions in with Turner’s and Iverson’s but, unusually, adds a standard, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Some Enchanted Evening, played strikingly straight and perhaps intended as a useful encore tune when playing live.

The band treads a finely-balanced, high altitude path between craggy structure and free space, but such is their confidence in each other they can take risks without fear of falling.

An old Turner composition, Lennie Groove – Lennie being Tristano – opens the album and Iverson in turn opens the tune in exploratory fashion before  the band joins in to twist and turn through its tricky melody line. The leader’s drum sound and style are marvellously expansive – while Turner and Iverson are tightly focussed and concentrated at the centre, Street circles around them with supporting rhythm and Hart surrounds all three with a landscape of toms and cymbals.

The Billy Hart Quartet

The Billy Hart Quartet

Turner’s other writing contribution, Sonnet For Stevie – Stevie being Wonder – is a cool, lyrical ballad that gets a lovely buoyancy from Hart, and inspires a ruminative solo from Iverson.

The pianist’s compositions are the bluesily free Maraschino, with Hart’s shimmering brushes never settling into a specific rhythm but always magically implying a groove, and Big Trees, which provides a fine showcase for the drums.

Hart’s own tunes, Teule’s Redemption, Amethyst and Yard, form the heart of the album: the first opening with solo drums, a striking and solid melody and a soaring, celebratory solo from Turner; the second the freest piece on the album with Iverson and Turner getting full rein to go exploring; the third taking the blues on a wide-ranging walk.

Mark Turner, so I understand, is in Birmingham this week sharing his expertise and advice with students on Birmingham Conservatoire’s jazz course. Lucky them! For more about that go here.

  • To buy the Billy Hart Quartet’s One Is The Other go here.

Categories: CD review

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2 replies


  1. Mark Turner plays Old Folks – and inspires young ones this week « thejazzbreakfast
  2. Festive 50 – Numbers 30-21 | thejazzbreakfast

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