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Bill Hart Band

Live At Red Clay Theatre

Review by Gary Hill

Let's get the obvious out of the way first - this is not progressive rock. It is, however, fusion, and we generally land fusion under prog. This live instrumental album is a real treat. It has a lot of varying flavors and moods, some exceptional musicianship and some great grooves. All of that contributes to an exceptional listening experience for people who dig fusion.

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Track by Track Review
Beachside Isle
Coming in tentatively, this powers out to some killer fusion from there. It has a really smooth groove and lots of great jamming. The horn section brings a lot of magic to it. The saxophone soloing is inspired and when it gets into a bit of a call and response kind of give and take with the synthesizer, magic ensues.
Jim Gilligan
They bring this out here into a number that seems to even have some Grateful Dead style textures at the start. It works to more standard jazz from there, though. I love the guitar soloing around the half-way mark. The piece really gets into some killer territory as it makes its way forward.
Deep Skies
A blues rocking riff brings this into being. The band bring some serious jazz and even a bit of funk as they join. The drums really get the chance to shine on this number. It's a fusion powerhouse piece that soars. The bass seriously lays down some funk further down the road on this thing.
Sara's Song
Gentle jazz guitar textures open this tune, and it grows gradually from there. This gets quite intense as it continues to evolve, but it drops way down again for the closing segment.
That's Purdy
This fusion tune has some killer sounds and grooves. There is some particularly tasty guitar work on this one, but I think the synthesizer work really steals the show for me. This is a great tune.
Canadese Africano
A powerhouse jazz jam, this has a great groove and exceptional jamming. It's just an energized and captivating piece of music.
This Is Why
This comes in mellower, slower and quite pretty. The introduction plays through and it drops to just guitar to move onward. This thing evolves very slowly with the guitar painting some intricate and gentle melodies. The bass dance in the backdrop quite well. The saxophone takes the lead for a while, creating more potent musical textures. By around the eight minute mark this piece really gets powered up and intensified. It reaches a peak (to some serious applause), and then things drop back down as the number continues.
Spazio Aperto
Coming in dramatic and powerful, this is another cool jazz jam. The piece works through a number of changes and features some killer jamming along that road.
There are some bits here that feel like something Frank Zappa might have written to me. I dig the keyboard work, but everything about this piece works really well. The balance between faster paced, more powered up stuff and the mellower, slower stuff is classy. The bass groove on this is exceptional, and I love the guitar soloing. The keyboard jamming around the six minute mark is on fire. The cut works through some cool grooves as it continues from there.

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