HEARTS OF SPACE
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PUBLISHED IN HEARTS OF SPACE CATALOG 2010
Written by show host and founder Stephen Hill

 
The Light Beyond the Atoms 

This is the piano and synthesizer album we've been waiting for.  Ron Hart combines the virtuosity and soulfulness of Keith Jarrett with the softness and warmth of romantic classical music. 

In this fine 4-movement suite, he's taken his most inspired concert improvisations on grand piano and added synthesizer orchestrations to create a unique blend of spontaneity and structure. The rich string tones and multi-colored ambiences of the synthesizer enhance and complement the piano in a completely natural sounding integration. 

Each movement is centered emotionally around an essential quality of personal growth.   The final movement, Train is A'Comin', includes the old American spiritual tune Oh Susanna, concluding the album with a tinge of nostalgia and a deep sense of peace. 

The lyricism and balance of this music is very appealing.  You'll find yourself returning to Ron Hart's music again and again.


• Tracks:
  1st Movement   --   Daya  (Compassion)   5:55
  2nd Movement  --  Simplicity's White Robe  (Purity)   12:10
  3rd Movement   --  Baba Anand  (Bliss)   10:46
  4th Movement   --  Train is a'Comin'  (Perseverance)   19:18

JAZZREVIEW.COM 
WHERE PEOPLE TALK ABOUT JAZZ SINCE 1997   
PUBLISHED IN STRAIGHT-AHEAD / CLASSIC – CD REVIEWS March 11, 2012 
Written by Brian S. Lunde
 

April in Paris by Ron Hart and Gary Fitzgerald 

Piano and bass duos are not common in jazz recordings, but also not unprecedented. Some famous recorded duos include Duke Ellington and Ray Brown, Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro, Hank Jones and Red Mitchell. It is tempting to think of these as trios without drums since we are so accustomed to the classic rhythm section, but that would be a mistake. The piano is after all a percussion instrument, and the bass adds a wonderful depth and warmth to the piano's percussive nature. If Ron Hart and Gary Fitzgerald are not quite the same household names in jazz as the aforementioned duos, they have still made a fine contribution to the jazz library of piano and bass recordings. 

The album opens with the title track, April in Paris, and we immediately get a sense of the ease with which Hart and Fitzgerald make music together. The two give the gently-paced tune lots of room to breathe instead of filling every space with notes.  There are some lovely renditions here of other standards. 

A special gem is Sidney's Soliloquy, a tune that was a favorite of the late jazz crooner Mel Tormé. Its shifts between minor and major tonalities give it the unusual feel of a pleasing sadness, like smiling through tears. Hart and Fitzgerald play out the tension well. Fitzgerald plays his solo mostly in the bass's upper register, a nice choice to underscore the tune's use of juxtaposition of major and minor. 

Ray Charles made Hit the Road, Jack a raucous, foot-tapping rhythm and blues hit. Here, Hart and Fitzgerald slow it down to a bluesy walk. Fitzgerald opens and closes with straight-time quarter notes that evoke our Jack hitting the road reluctantly, just putting one foot in front of the other. In the middle, however, Fitzgerald builds the song by stepping first into eighth notes, then a nice double-time walking bass line. A very fresh treatment of this song. 

Noteworthy among the originals are the quietly pretty Unshakeable Love and the ambitiously-named Middle East Solution.  The latter is almost a miniature suite moving us through peace, conflict and back again. 

Hart and Fitzgerald have given us some very enjoyable jazz on April in Paris. If you enjoy trios, give this album a try and you'll appreciate the simpler but still swinging sound of piano and bass. 

Additional Info 

• Artist / Group Name: Ron Hart and Gary Fitzgerald 

• CD Title:  April in Paris 

• Featured Track:  Hit the Road, Jack 

• Genre:  Straight-Ahead / Classic 

• Year Released:  2011 

• Record Label:  PureBeam Music 

• Tracks: April in Paris;  Sidney's Soliloquy;  Night and Day;  Hit the Road, Jack;  From the Heart;  The Sandbox;  
   Blues for Dr. Barcus;  Unshakeable Love;  Angel Eyes;  Middle East Solution;  My Romance 

• Musicians:  Ron Hart (piano), Gary Fitzgerald (upright bass) 

• Label Website:  purebeammusic.com 

• Rating:  Three Stars