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Billy Hart Quartet

NEA Jazz Master Billy Hart brings his exciting quartet to THE 222, with Ethan Iverson on piano, Dayna Stephens on saxophones and Peter Barshay on bass. It has been many years since Hart has brought his quartet to California. Hart, Iversen, and Stephens are flying in from the East coast for this special occasion.

There will be one show on Saturday, September 11, at 7PM and one on Sunday, September 12, at 7PM in the very intimate concert performance space with club-style seating located within the Paul Mahder Gallery.

“Billy Hart is one of the greatest living jazz drummers. Hell, he’s one of the greatest drummers of ALL TIME.” - Joshua Redman

Billy Hart is one of the great drummers in the long lineage of extraordinary jazz drummers.  He has recorded over six hundred albums, including seminal dates with Wayne Shorter, Marian McPartland, Joe Zawinul, Pepper Adams, John Scofield, Lee Konitz, Hank Jones, Pat Martino, Charles Lloyd, Richard Davis, Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, and Dave Douglas. It is obvious that he is doing something that musicians across wide stylistic divides find irresistible.

Hart has been in the most authentic thread in this music ever since he was a teenager in Washington D.C. Among his first mentors was premiere vocalist Shirley Horn (much later Hart would be instrumental in helping arrange her “comeback”) and tenor hero Buck Hill, who turned Hart onto Charlie Parker and hired him at age 17. He learned Brazilian rhythms from the source on early ’60s jobs at Charlie Byrd’s Showboat Lounge with Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and Bola Sete while apprenticing with Washington, D.C. native sons like Jimmy Cobb, Osie Johnson, Ben Dixon, Harry “Stump” Saunders and George “Dude” Brown. Through local connections, he had backstage access to the Howard Theater, where he analyzed such master New Orleanian drummers as Idris Muhammad (the Impressions), Clayton Filliard (James Brown), and Ed Blackwell (Ray Charles). He would later occupy the drum chair in the theater’s house band performing with the likes of The Isley Brothers, Sam and Dave, Patti Labelle, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, among others.

Hart first sustained national exposure with the greatest Hammond organist, Jimmy Smith (1964–66), followed by a tenure with Wes Montgomery (1966-68) at the height of the guitarist’s popularity. Upon moving to New York and following Montgomery’s death, Hart performed in the bands of Eddie Harris and Pharoah Sanders before joining Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi band in 1969, remaining there for four years and recording three pivotal albums. From there he joined McCoy Tyner’s band (1973–1974) and also performed with Stan Getz (1974–1977) in addition to extensive freelance playing and recording (including with Miles Davis on 1972’s “On the Corner”).

Hart drew on all of these experiences in conceptualizing “Enchance,” his 1977 debut album as a leader and subsequently, “Oshumare” (1985), Rah (1987), “Amethyst” (1993) and “Oceans of Time” (1997). On each record, he assembled idiosyncratic virtuosos from different circles, each signifying a stream of cutting-edge jazz thought. Functioning more as a facilitator than a stylist, he meshed their distinctive personalities, generating fresh ideas through intense drum dialogue. He currently leads the Billy Hart Quartet featuring Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson and Ben Street. They have recorded three albums - the most recent, “One is the Other,” is on ECM Records.

A true chameleon, Hart is able to adapt to any situation quickly and fluently, approaching every gig with acute musicality, interpretive intelligence, and the kind of split-second decision-making skills that mark only the best studio musicians. He can blend into the background in a supportive role, but is at his best when his wonderfully textural drumming spirit is allowed to roam. At the core of all this is Hart’s true love of the instrument.

Two of Hart’s long-term collective projects include Quest and The Cookers, which have been heard on the stages of every significant jazz festival in the world. In spite of his busy touring schedule, Hart still finds time to teach extensively - he holds a full professorship at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University.

Click HERE to download Billy's amazing discography.

Ethan Iverson

Best known for his work in the contemporary jazz trio The Bad Plus, game-changing jazz pianist, composer, and writer Ethan Iverson has performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, and Bonnaroo. He has collaborated with Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, and the Mark Morris Dance Group; and created a faithful arrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring as well as a radical reinvention of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction. In 2017 Iverson premiered the score “Pepperland” for the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Aaron Greenwald co-curated a major centennial celebration of Thelonious Monk at Duke University. In 2018 Iverson premiered Concerto to Scale with the American Composers Orchestra and released “Temporary Kings,” a duo album with Mark Turner on ECM. He also has been in the critically-acclaimed Billy Hart quartet for well over a decade, and has appeared with jazz luminaries such as Ron Carter, Mark Turner, Tom Harrell, Chris Potter, and countless others. Check out his website to learn more about Ethan.

Dayna Stephens

Dayna Stephens is globally recognized as a saxophonist, composer and arranger, and is the first place recipient of the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll in the category Rising Star—Tenor Saxophone.

NPR’s Kevin Whitehead had this to say, “Dayna Stephens can cry and rip it up on tenor, but at heart, he’s a streamlined melodic player. His handsome down-the-middle tone is not too heavy or light, though he can lean either way. His sound is sleek, with very light vibrato. And the lines he improvises are uncluttered and well-organized. His horn sings”.  

Rhythmic dialogue excites the Brooklyn-born, Bay Area-raised artist, as both an improviser and a written composer. His creative expression leads him to uncover different rhythmic interpretations of harmonic ideas as part of a spontaneous interchange with other players. These evolving interpretations help serve Dayna’s commitment to authenticity of the moment, whether he’s playing live or in the studio. And his rhythmic inquiry has earned him the attention and admiration of some of the music’s most beloved drummers—many of whom have collaborated with him on recordings, on the bandstand and on the road, including Al Foster, Idris Muhammad, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Billy Hart, Marcus Gilmore, Bill Stewart, Eric Harland, Johnathan Blake, Jaimeo Brown, Brian Blade, Victor Lewis, Lewis Nash, Jorge Rossy, Jeff Ballard and Justin Brown. To hear his music is to fall in love with whatever instrument Dayna uses to channel his ideas.  Learn more about Dayna and hear his music on his website.

Peter Barshay

A veteran bassist who has established a strong reputation over the years from his sideman work on both the New York City and San Francisco Bay Area jazz scenes, Peter Barshay has performed with such jazz luminaries as Kenny Barron, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Werner, Shirley Horn, Woody Shaw, Pharoah Sanders, Blue Mitchell, Tony Williams, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Johnny Griffin and Bobby McFerrin.

Barshay’s numerous appearances at clubs and jazz festivals have taken him around the world, helping to establish his reputation as a solid, reliable bassist. Having soaked up a lifetime of sounds on both coasts -- everything from salsa and straight ahead to funk-fusion, avant garde and music derived from the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian traditions -- he brings a wealth of experience to the musical table.

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