Thursday, December 5, 2013

Craig Hartley: Books On Tape

An interpretation of my musical and life experiences translated into song ( Craig Hartley)
A present reflection on the temporally distanced past.
Hans Koert

I think this album would easily has fail to notice …….  as the name of the artist at the cover wasn’t familiar with me ….. and the cover image ….. . a dated self-recorded cassette tape from the 1980s suggested homemade stuff ……. but nothing was further from the truth ….  The debut album by Craig Hartley  surprised me.

(photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Craig Hartley, piano player,  graduated at the well known Manhattan School of Music and studied later with great names in jazz like the great alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, who started the African American music studies program at the Hartt School of Music, which Craig attended He performed with jazz musicians like trumpet player Eddie Henderson and saxophonist Jimmy Greene , while playing in Steve Davis’ band at Hartt School of Music.  Froghollow, one of the nine tracks on the album, belongs to my favorites. It is named after the Hartford neighborhood where Steve Davis’ band used to play every week.

This album, Books on Tape Vol. 1 is Craig’s debut album under his own name . It features Craig Hartley himself at the piano, Carlo De Rosa on bass and Henry Cole on drums. Fabio Morgera and vocalist Dida Pelled can be heard as guests on some tracks.

Craig says about the title tune Books On Tape: For many years, I would sneak into Yale University’s practice  rooms and play for hours ….. You can imagine the variety of musicians one would hear: pianists, vocal groups, various classical ensembles, among other talents.  This tune, :  Books on Tape, was inspired by those experiences at Yale University …… (quote: liner notes) 

The album contains nine tracks, all but one, composed by Craig himself. It wants to … represent an interpretation of some of my musical and life experiences, Craig says in the liner notes, translated into song. Dial 411 which opens the selection, was dedicated to his mentor pianist and educator Gary Dial who inspired him to develop his own concepts and musical voice.

Enjoy part of this up-tempo starter, filmed during the actual recording of the album, January 28th, 2011

K2 was Gary’s favorite coffee shop where he spend many hours as a student working with his friend, transcribing, composing and listening to music.   I like this track, due to its fascinating rhythmical patterns.

The tune Just For Me can be found in a trio version and a version with a quartet, featuring trumpet player Fabio Morgera, who also produced this album.  The Just for Me version with Fabio on trumpet, is my most favorites of the album …. An album I can recommend highly.

Hans koert
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Craig Hartley was inspired by the music he  heard played by a variety of musicians in the Yale University practice rooms .... Books on Tape vol. 1 is his debut album under his own name. The addition Vol. 1 suggests that this album won't stay a loner. Highly recommended.

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