Billy Hart Quartet
Mark Turner, tenor saxophone
Ben Street, double bass
Ethan Iverson, piano
Billy Hart, drums
"All Our Reasons" CD
First ECM recording. The Billy Hart Quartet has played shows to packed houses each year in New York City. The group’s first album for hard-bop label High Note in 2005 figured on many critics’ best-of-the year list. Since then, the ensemble’s music has gotten more free and spacious, a sensibility that aligns perfectly with ECM. While drummer Hart’s swinging beat and delicate cymbal tracery have previously been heard on the label behind Charles Lloyd and Bennie Maupin, and tenorist Mark Turner has appeared on acclaimed recording with the Fly Trio and Enrico Rava, “All Our Reasons” is a label debut for Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street. Hart, Iverson and Turner all contribute material, which includes modern blues, a Coltrane tribute and an Iverson-penned homage to Paul Bley, the wonderfully-titled “Nostalgia for the Impossible”.
This quartet has been performing since 2003, mostly in New York at the Village Vanguard, the Jazz Standard, Fat Cat, Dizzy's, and Birdland.
The first week it was billed as “The Ethan Iverson/Mark Turner quartet.” But after Billy asked it to be his band for a night for a gig in New Jersey, the other members unanimously voted to give it him permanently. There has never been any doubt that the right name was on the bill: At every gig, fans and musicians from all over the world come out to support a drummer who has engendered so much love and respect during so many years of touring, teaching, and living.
Tickets: $20/$10 full time students with ID
Early on Hart performed in Washington, D.C. with soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, and then later with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–1968). Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.
Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock's sextet (1969–1973), and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–1974), Stan Getz (1974–1977), and Quest (1980s), in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972's On the Corner).
At age 70, Billy Hart works steadily and teaches widely. Since the early 1990s Hart spends considerable time at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University. He also conducts private lessons through The New School and New York University. Hart often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.
He leads a group with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street. He also is featured in a trio led by pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and one led by guitarist Assaf Kehati.
Hart resides in Montclair, New Jersey.
Born in Fairborn, Ohio, and raised in the small Southern California town of Palos Verdes, Turner originally intended to become a commercial artist. In elementary school he played the clarinet, followed by the alto and tenor saxophones in high school. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1990 before moving to New York. Turner worked at Tower Records in New York City for an extended period before working full time as a jazz musician.
In early November 2008 Turner injured two fingers on one of his hands with a power saw, but as of late February 2009 (after a rapid recovery of four months) was performing again with the Edward Simon Quartet at the Village Vanguard.
Mark Turner's sound is reminiscent of that of Warne Marsh, in that he often produces a somewhat dry, woody tone. He also has elements of John Coltrane in his playing. Turner has mentioned both Marsh and Coltrane as influences, and has used elements of both players' styles in his music without resorting to mimicry. Turner's range extends seamlessly into the high altissimo register. His improvised lines tend to be harmonically and rhythmically convoluted while maintaining melodic coherence. His compositions often make use of repeated patterns, odd-metered time signatures, intervallic leaps, and a selective use of space.
Mark Turner has regularly collaborated with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Larry Grenadier, and Jeff Ballard, and has formed various collectives that include these musicians (M.T.B. and prominently, FLY). He has also played with the influential Dave Holland Big Band. In 2003 Turner collaborated with alto saxophonist Gary Foster in a special concert billed as "Mark Turner and Friends". Although Turner has recorded less than 10 albums under his name, he is a prolific sideman, playing on dozens of other jazz recordings going back to the early 90's.
Ethan Iverson is one third of The Bad Plus and the proprietor of Do the Math.
Deep background: Born February 11, 1973 in Menomonie, Wisconsin -- moved to New York City in 1991 and played dance classes, comedy sports, theatre pits, and in the New York Tango Trio with Raul Jaurena and Pablo Aslan -- studied with Fred Hersch, then Sophia Rosoff -- became music director of Mark Morris Dance Group in 1998 -- was part of late-'90s indie jazz scene along with Bill McHenry, Jeff Williams, Reid Anderson and others, mainly documented on Fresh Sound New Talent, thanks to Jorge Rossy -- worked as a sideman with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner in 2000/2001.
Present day: The Bad Plus with Anderson and Dave King formed in 2001, the Billy Hart Quartet with Turner and Ben Street formed in 2003, Do the Math debuted in 2005, and in recent years Iverson has collaborated with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, Lee Konitz, and Sam Newsome.
Ben Street is a New York-area jazz double bassist. He has played with many great jazz artists, notably Kurt Rosenwinkel on the album Next Step, Ben Monder on the album Dust and Sam Rivers on the album Violet Violets, Danilo Perez, and Adam Cruz.
He studied the acoustic bass with Dave Holland, Buster Williams and the former Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous.
He is the son of saxophonist and saxophone mouthpiece maker Bill Street and is native of Maine.