George Hoar - Oracle
Up one level
Written by John Thomas
- Genre: Jazz
Hoar, electric and acoustic bass, piano, wood koch flute, melodeon; Dave
Liebman, soprano sax (2); Mark Feldman, violin (8); Troy Conn, guitar (4,7);
Brian Sullivan, drums (2,3); Tim Gordon, soprano sax (6); Kieran Loftus,
electric piano (2,5); Kevin Lutke, guitar (6); Kira Kundu, percussion
(2,4,5,6,8); Carl Mendez, percussion (2,4,5,6,8); Joe Nocilla, drums (4); Steve
Rossilli, drums (8); William Ware, vibes, marimba (3,6,8)
Little Bass Suite; Oracle; Solyqua; Solace
Anon; Celestial Awake; Urban Legend; Gentle Giant; Scenes from a Marionette;
Records. Web: www.loudwhisper.com
George Hoar’s latest album, Oracle,
features some beautiful and haunting compositions and an A-list of musicians.
The album begins with a striking polyphonic solo bass suite that was composed
in a classical style, yet it evolves into an improvisational performance,
showing the two sides of George Hoar. The second piece is the title track which
is perhaps the highlight of the album. The beautiful melody is handled by Dave
Liebman on soprano saxophone, who infuses it with his soul-stirring sound.
Kieran Loftus plays electric piano, and uses an extremely synthetic patch that
sounds like it’s from the 80’s. Along with drums, there are layers of other
percussion sounds as well.
begins with an energy building drum solo from Brian Sullivan that gives way to
a complex and multi-faceted melody harmonized and shared by Hoar on piano and
William Ware on vibes. Hoar’s piano playing is often rhythmically sloppy and
the piano sounds like an old slightly off tune upright. These two elements along
with the quality of the melody give it a very frantic feeling which may or may
not have been intended.
Anon” finds Hoar playing beautifully on the piano. Again the melody and chords
that he has arranged, along with the bowed bass put it in the field of
classical music, but then some Latin percussion enters and improvisation
begins. Hoar’s improvisations on this composition are heartfelt and intense.
Suddenly, the tempo increases, and the melancholy quality turns to hope and
has a very contemplative and otherworldly vibe and is entitled “Celestial
Awake.” This tune gives Hoar a chance to really shred on electric bass, even
though the tempo is slow. It is no surprise that he dedicated it to Eric Satie
and Jaco Pastorius. “Gentle Giant” is a very pretty duo played between Hoar and
Troy Conn on guitar—Conn gets a very Bill Frisell type of sound on this track.
Hoar really gets to stretch out on this one, taking a more rubato approach to
from a Marionette” is an epic composition with some exciting twists and turns,
through-composed from beginning to end. Mark Feldman plays beautifully on
“Farewell” is exactly that—the album closer,
and it ends how it began, with solo bass. For me, the opener and closer are the
best two tunes on the album—he arpeggiates two absolutely beautiful chord
progressions that will go right through your chest. The closer has more of a
joyful quality to it, where the opener was dark and haunting. It is dedicated
to his father, Arthur Hoar.