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Hays Street Hart - Bridges (Smoke Sessions)

19 October 2023

Pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Billy Higgins established themselves as a working trio on 2021’s wonderful All Things Are. The triad returns to the studio for round two with Bridges, another showcase for their inherent melodicism and relaxed interplay. Though a supergroup of sorts, the band isn’t given to grand statements or bombastic showboating. Hays contributes the lion’s share of original tunes, putting the lovely waltz “Butterfly” in the vanguard before contributing the busy but tuneful “Row Row Row” and the dreamy “Song For Peace.” Certified NEA Jazz Master Hart brings “Irah,” originally recorded by his own quartet, and given a stately, respectful reading here. The threesome includes other tunes from across the spectrum, from Bill Frisell’s swinging “Throughout” to the late Wayne Shorter’s moody “Capricorn* and the Beatles’ buoyant “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The album closes with Milton Nascimento’s title track, a contemplative breeze through each player’s interactive sense of tune. A study in chemistry as much as playability, Bridges showcases three veterans hitting a new peak.