One of Canada's best kept secrets, guitarist Harley Card's Hedgerow is a spatial exploration of modern jazz. The perfect storm!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
While the uninvited may not be familiar with Harley Card, this Canadian guitarist is the real deal. Hedgerow is the latest effort and showcases other critically acclaimed raising stars such as pianist Matt Newton and bassist Dan Fortin but this is indeed a collaborative effort. An almost three dimensional swing of meticulously textured yet nuanced sound. So, who does Harley Card sound like? Artistic comparisons while inherently unfair are sometimes necessary to simply give an idea or impression concerning the harmonic influences of a particular artist. Imagine the six string musical nirvana somewhere between Pat Martino and John Scofield. Card's technical proficiency is beyond reproach while his artistic soul draws from a rich color palate that allows each tune to develop a natural organic heartbeat.
Less is more and it is this zen like approach that finds Card moving from electric to acoustic while utilizing loops with taste and finesse. Other musical co-conspirators such as saxophonist David French, bassist Jon Maharal and split time between drummers Ethan Ardelli and Fabio Ragnelli push Card to a new artistic level of creativity. Hard bop, swing and a groove you can use are all here and are highlighted in tunes such as "Hedgerow" along with "The Brain Chain" and "Smutty Twig Men" are inventive and walk that delicate tightrope between the cerebral and visceral.
Similar releases by some of his American contemporaries are traditionally one note, find that groove then beat it to death! Card takes the listener on a captivating journey. Virtually flawless with an ensemble cast second to none!