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In Remembrance of: Benjamin Henry, Eva Burrell, Eric Paul Jackson, Bertha Smith, Leon Guitry, Jackie Hall
By By Richard Henry on November 1, 2014

Originally from Queens NY, George Hoar came from a musical family which his mother was a classically trained piano teacher and composer in her own right which George studied early on with. His father was an amateur drummer with a natural feel for jazz music. George Hoar studied with Rufus Ried, David Samuels, Harold Maybern, Todd Coolman and Don Funuto at William Patterson College. He also studied privately with Harvey Swartz on bass and Art Resnick on piano and performed with various artists such as Joyce Bryant, Barbara English and David Samuels. Hoar was awarded with an endowment of the arts composition grant for his original improvisational jazz group in which they played at colleges around the north tri state. He came out with a solo jazz cd called Trikus with guest Mike Stern where the group played at many North East Festivals. George Hoar was one of the artists featured on Jazz Sounds of Harlem (2005) on Bet with Wynton Marsalis as the host where he performed regularly at the Harlem club The Showman.

Soul Sojourn is the newest cd by George Hoar which features a variety of jazz tunes with nine incredible tracks and one bonus track when you order the cd from Richard Dalrymple does the spoken word on track 9 and has a jazz radio program on Saturday mornings from 9:00 am to 11:30 am in Mooresville, NC (Whip 1350 AM) which can be found on shoutcast.

The first track Soul Sojourn Prelude is a solo piano feast with complex, rippling runs and creative melodies. This is the marriage of a modern sound added with a subtle triumphant, dignified vibe. Creative chromaticism are heard along with sounds that could be heard at a performance or a restaurant. Classical romantic influence is felt in this piece. Fast, dazzling notes are placed at just the right times. The theme appears a number of times throughout, giving the listener familiarity that holds everything else together. After a while, the mood changes to a more bouncy feel that lets you savor and taste the sounds in your ears. Itís a modern piano feast that you can understand.

Red Spanish Skies, which is the third track sounds exactly what the title implies. The piece has a Spanish, colorful sound and feel. It features a number of different instruments that include the guitar and two recorders. A pleasant theme appears a number of times. The triple meter gives this piece a dance, festive kind of quality. The interchange between the guitar and recorder has great balance and variety. This piece paints a lively portrait of musical energy that has a number of layers of effective sound. Wonderful Spanish scenery and culture is well highlighted in this piece. All of the instruments and musical textures work together in great balance without being too muddy. Ascending runs and sequences are heard in the guitar solo. One of the more unique jazz pieces youíll ever hear.

The violin is featured in the fifth track Awakening Hymn. You can hear a strong classical influence in this track. The pianist accompanies the violin nicely with chords that give the violinist the freedom to play the wonderful lines. A piano solo fits well with the overall structure of the song bending the rhythm but still maintaining a good pulse and control. Modern sounds are strongly created by the violin and further flavored by the lines and chords of the piano. The drums help keep the forward motion moving. You can hear the hymn aspect as the chords on piano have a hymnal quality while the violin sings with passionate clarity. A bass solo is played with the same feel of the overall piece. The violin and piano have the melody numerous times.

You know you're in for a treat as Borderland Beyond begins with a brisk pulse full of energy. The guitar begins with a characteristic melody thatís heard throughout the piece. You can hear the bass supporting the guitar giving you a variety of things to listen to. The drums kick this piece in high gear with speed that lets the other instruments perform with energy. I hear a modern sound in this tune as well, especially from the lines that are played and the solos that are heard. Fast ascending lines are heard on the guitar in a highly virtuosic way. The guitar is really featured in this tune and shows you the ability and range of the instrument. When the opening theme is heard again towards the end, you feel a sense of joy.

I enjoyed the modern, colorful sounds and skillful improvisation and melodies in Soul Sojourn. This cd gives you a lot of angles to listen to in terms of skill and knowledge of music. The violin, guitar and recorder give you even more variety of sounds to listen to. You can tell that a lot of care and precision went into composing these tunes. George Hoar is a composer, bassist and pianist, which is a rare combination among musicians these days and he definitely had multiple important roles in creating this cd. This is a must buy for jazz fans.

Soul Sojourn CD Review
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