Album review: Billy Hart’s ‘All Our Reasons’


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Billy Hart, ‘All Our Reasons’ (ECM)


An enduring, engaging presence behind the drums who has recorded with Wes Montgomery, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis (as a hired hand on the 1972’s landmark ‘On the Corner’), 71-year-old Billy Hart sees no reason to rest on his laurels.

Here on a lush reconvening of a band that came together on the 2006 album ‘Quartet,’ Hart leads with a steady, almost invisible hand that gives his younger, high-profile collaborators ample room to stretch.

Pianist Ethan Iverson is best known for co-leading the witty, boundary-shredding jazz group the Bad Plus, but here his playing remains in a more contemplative place, particularly on ‘Ohnedaruth,’ one of his own compositions that nods toward John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ with an insistent, multidirectional patter from Hart and an understated lead from saxophonist Mark Turner.

A notable bandleader in his own right, most recently with the trio Fly, Turner’s trademark reserve is a highlight on his slow-burning composition,’Wasteland,’ but it’s Hart who owns some of the record’s most memorable turns with the knotty ‘Duchess’ and the opener ‘Song for Balkis.’

At over 12 minutes, the piece unfurls with a nocturnal grace marked by a gliding turn from Turner colored by an array of cymbal flourishes from Hart before Iverson enters with an off-center lean. With a little luck, the next album won’t take so long. ALSO:

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-- Chris Barton