Saturday, July 22, 2023

Daily best music in the world: Billy Hart

This is an interesting record from 2014, by Bobby Hutcherson, with David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco, and Billy Hart on drums. The whole thing is real loose, and basically the opposite of everything happening in music lately— like a titanic expression of the performer's great abilities. Not that.   

Billy Hart is 74 years old here, and has played and recorded as much music as anyone alive, and is working from a level of familiarity with act of playing— and through levels of burnout— it's hard to conceive, and hard for me to write about— what I'm hearing with his playing here.  

You wouldn't mistake him for being a stylist. He's more a “contextist”— and the context is all of modern jazz from ~1960-1980. Including free jazz and early fusion, as well as R&B and funk. Which largely means playing interactively and not just playing idiomatic stuff.

They're playing familiar music, but there's nothing routine here— everything sounds present and in the moment and there to serve a purpose. More like music behavior than a performance for an audience, or even necessarily for musical effect. All very unforced. When he plays assertively, it's not coming from a personality intruding, he's more riding an energy.

It's easy to hear the vocabulary items he's using, and basically why. He'll do one thing for awhile, and you can hear how he uses it, where it goes. You can pick stuff out and use it yourself. 


Jonathan said...

This is one of my favorite albums. I'm glad you wrote about this.

Todd Bishop said...

Me too, now-- the CD has been sitting in the player in my car for a couple of weeks. At some point I'll write more about it-- I've absorbed a lot more than I did when I wrote this.