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Billy Hart Quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, Ben Street;Monday, June 16, 2014

Billy Hart Quartet
with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, Ben Street
Monday, June 16
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

“… spontaneous musical conversation… beautifully crafted….” – The Guardian

Billy Hart is one of the most recorded jazz drummers of the last five decades. He is a dynamic musician/composer whose career path has encompassed the R&B of Otis Redding and the jazz artistry of Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, and Charles Lloyd. His propulsive style laid the foundation for Herbie Hancock’s “Mwandishi” period, a cornerstone of the fusion era. For the past ten years Hart’s quartet has featured saxophonist Mark Turner (Fly), pianist Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus), and bassist Ben Street. One Is The Other (ECM) is the group’s most recent recording. Now as the leader of his own quartet and composer, Hart showcases his own compositions alongside those of Turner, Iverson, and Street, opening up a new avenue of musical expression for himself while continuing to win accolades as a performer. The quartet’s music is filled with spontaneity that will appeal to aficionados and the open-minded, turning melodic somersaults for the listener.

Billy Hart born in 1940, grew up in Washington D.C.  Inspired by Charlie Parker recordings, Hart remembers becoming obsessed with music during his teen years. He credits drummers Tootie Heath (of the Heath Brothers) and Louis Hayes (of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet) as early mentors, and speaks highly of the late Tony Williams as a continuing influence on his own playing. Hart got his first professional experience playing around Washington, D.C., performing in “pick up” groups that backed up soul singers that came to town, such as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. His early jazz gigs were with saxophonist Buck Hill and pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn, and then he became the touring drummer for Hammond B-3 legend Jimmy Smith, from ’64 to ’66. In 1966, he joined guitar legend Wes Montgomery’s touring group and stayed until Montgomery’s untimely death in 1968. At that point, Hart relocated to New York City where one of his first gigs was with future NPR Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland. He soon found himself in-demand as a sideman, drumming for some of the best up-and-coming jazz musicians. In 1969, Hart was recruited by former Miles Davis pianist Herbie Hancock for what became Hancock’s “Mwandishi” band, putting him in the midst of the burgeoning jazz/rock, or fusion, movement. The group recorded a series of groundbreaking albums before Hart moved onto McCoy Tyner’s group in 1973. Hart also drummed on Miles Davis’ controversial 1972 recording On The Corner. And then, from 1974 to 1977, Hart was back performing in a more acoustic, mainstream jazz style with saxophonist Stan Getz, followed by a busy freelancing schedule. In 1980, Hart replaced Al Foster in the cutting-edge group Quest, a group that featured saxophonist Dave Liebman, pianist Richie Beirach, and bassist Ron McClure, and specialized in collective improvisation.

Throughout the ’90s and the 2000s, Hart has kept a busy schedule touring and recording with a number of notable jazz artists, including Geri Allen and Charles Lloyd. To date, he has appeared as a sideman on over 500 recordings. Additionally, he also devotes a good deal of his time to teaching at Oberlin College and at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 2013, the Jazz Journalist’s Association named Billy Hart “Drummer of the Year.”

Billy Hart Quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, Ben Street


DATE: Monday, June 16, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $25/Adv $30/Door, No Comps
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227  

Media contact:
Tina Pelikan
(212) 333-1405

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