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Eclectic Heart by George Hoar

George Hoar’s "Eclectic Heart" is an amiable recording with a long list of contributing musicians such as Dave Liebman and Dave Samuels. And, as the title suggests, it is rather eclectic in spirit. The first few tracks, especially ‘Wild Spirits’ and ‘Third Wave Samba’ have an easy going, tropical-vacation-in-a-resort type of ambiance. It has a relaxed, sun-burnt rhythm and has that sting of tequila which blurs those sharp edges.

‘Cross Bronx,’ as you can imagine, has an altogether sense. It is frenetic, but not frantic. There is almost a jubilant feel of the city buzz. This could be a soundtrack to a warm sweaty summer evening on the streets where people are out wandering or hanging out from their porches and windows. ‘The Bard’s Hornpipe’ is an amalgamation of new city/old world styles which sounds a bit forced and less successful than the other pieces.

You could imagine ‘A Dragonfly’s Waltz’ being played in a downtown recital hall. Though much more formal in structure the than the rest of the album, it retains a playfulness. There are two tributes, one to Bill Evans and the other to Bud Powell. On ‘Evans Remembered,’ Hoar emphasizes Evan’s graciousness and exquisite taste. It is like rich, dark chocolate. Naturally, ‘One for Bud’ has that quick-beat bebop wild phrasing of over fifty years ago. ‘Tongue & Check’ reaches back even further to when jazz was hot and bouncy. The final track, ‘The Parting Glass,’ again is a hybrid fusing contemporary jazz with a seemingly Irish folk tune. The melodic insistence of the flute and whistle give a light-hearted way to conclude this recording.

"Eclectic Heart" is a nicely conceived, well executed album.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: George Hoar
  • CD Title: Eclectic Heart
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Rating: Three Stars
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