Stuart Hart , Inner Voice (1999) Mother West, MWR 011199 132 W. 26th Street, NY, NY 10001 www.motherwest.com This is pretty solid - if not terribly original - fusion from the bespectacled, Paul Reed Smith-wielding Stuart Hart. With a rotating roster that includes the likes of Gary Thomas on sax, Paul Bollenback on second guitar, Evan Miller on keys, Matt Garrison on bass, and Dennis Chambers on drums, Hart delivers funky tunes and high-energy, fuzzed-out guitar playing. There are echoes of the Yellowjackets, Scott Henderson, Electric Outlet-era John Scofield, that sort of thing. Paul Bollenback's clean sound contrasts well with Hart's fuzztone on "Speaquinox" (great title, huh?) and the latin-flavored "The Green Pedal." In terms of all-out smoking and impressive ensemble work, "First Impressions" takes the cake. On the other hand, "Right from the Right," the longest track, is also the dullest. Hart's writing can be uneven, but he's a promising player, and he's got the right guys backing him. ~David R. Adler
Stuart Hart: Inner Voice (CD, 44:03); Mother West Records MWR011199, 1999 Cyberhome: http://www.stuarthart.com Hart definitely plays his heart out on this release. He has obviously talented musicians to jam with. His fretwork technique is solid, fun, fuzzed and/or pristine to suit the mood. He's fast, melodic, peppy and mellow if need be. There's plenty to groove to but . . . this isn't the hard-edged Hendersonic fusion I was awaiting. This is smooth jazz, (with some fuzzed overdrive and sporadic speed riffs), but, "Oops!", there's ample evidence of "fuzak" here too. This is great music for those Kenny G/ D. Sanborn/ Metheny/ Scofield/ Richard Smith Unit/ Mitch Watkins jazz adherents but if you want rippin' fusion do look elsewhere. In places I heard flashes of Gambale, "Ernie's Over", and lots of Richard Smith voicings. Hart's soloing reminded me of Tommy Bolin's fusion modes on "First Impressions" but that jazz standards breakdown, groove lost my interest here as well as in other cuts. I guess I've heard way too much "cruise boat", Caribbean-slick jazz in my day. You see, it's this -- Hart plays excellent guitar, polished jazz but the soulfire seems low-key, buried in doing everything acceptably jazz-correct and "safe". Inner Voice is mostly bereft of that intangible quality called soul energetics, soul- fire, and laying-all-the-cards abandon. Catch my drift? Cool yet cold. In spite of my clear subjectiveness here, I recommend folks try Hart out anyway! Especially sample "Running Out of Words", the outro on "The Green Pedal" w/Hart and Dennis Chambers rippin' it up in good olde '70s fusion, (Larry Coryellian/11th House), style and lastly, check out "Instrumentality". I hate to slam Hart's effort here in any way because he is one great person doing incredibly fine things with his talent after many, many struggles through grief and pain to finally release this CD. Still, I believe artists want true reviews versus "fluff jobs". So do it again, Stuart! You can play the heck outta that PRS dude. Kick out the jams next time and loose all that lounge-jazz restraint. ~ John W. Patterson Track listing: 1. Running Out of Words 2. Ernie's Over 3. The Green Pedal 4. First Impressions 5. Right from the Right 6. Speaquinox 7. Toe Nails 8. Instrumentality
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