The latest CD by guitarist John Hart and The John Hart Trio, Indivisible, is an explorative journey into the art of the trio. As such, the title is quite apropos as Hart describes it as “…the communication, the interplay, the transformation of three into one.” No easy thing to do, yet the listener gets the sense that each musician is playing not only their part but each other’s part vis-à-vis their own instruments. From the first tune “Runs In The Family” to the last “The Thing”, the John Hart Trio settle for nothing less than being one with the song.
While this may sound “new-agey or “zen-like” it is, in all honesty, the overall impression that I get when listening to this CD. There are no static background harmonies while the guitar floats over the changes. Rather, each tune becomes complete as the musicians play along with and play off of each other. And while it is John Hart’s Trio, it is also Tim Horner’s trio and Bill Moring’s trio as well (drums and bass respectively) as they play with a fervor not heard in many trio settings these days. It is what Hart refers to as the “…democratic exchange of ideas”. In fact, the comparison has been made a few times between this album and Metheny’s “Bright size Life”. And I have to agree. There is a sonic similarity on some tunes but more importantly the comparison I make with “Bright Size Life” refers to the musical sensibility which each player brings to the tunes as a unit much like Pastorius and Moses.
Now you may be wondering, “yeah yeah, ok, the band can play together…but can Hart play guitar?” The answer is an astounding YES! John Hart can play with the best of them and this CD proves just that. From bluesy single lines to fleet-fingered wah-wah distorted modal excursions to acoustic guitar splendor, Hart blends all his influences throughout this CD culminating in a palette of varying colors and textures that shapes the music as much as the performers do. This facility is also apparent in his compositions as well as the compositions of others. From the pretty solo guitar work on “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, “Awakening”, and Ellington’s “Single Petal of a Rose”, to the aggressive full band rumblings of “Techno Prisoners”, “Clone Me”, and “The Thing”, Hart demonstrates a technical and musical command of his instrument that definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
I highly recommend this CD for those looking for great guitar music or for those seeking to find a group sound that employs all the elements involved in the “art of Trioing” (Royce Campbell’s term). Be sure to pick up a copy of Indivisible if for no other reason than to see what the fuss is all about.