"Card’s musical sensibility is fully formed and urbane. His writing reflects a sense of history and is therefore worldly wise." - Raul d’Gama Rose- All About Jazz
“Card's sophisticated but accessible writing and the committed, well-measured playing from all hands are a potent combination."
- Peter Hum- The Ottawa Citizen
"One of Canada's best kept secrets, guitarist Harley Card's Hedgerow is a spatial exploration of modern jazz. the perfect storm!"
- Brent Black - www.criticaljazz.com
"Refreshing new compositions with skilled arrangements make this a recording of high quality. Well done to all."
- John Reid - Keith Community Radio, Scotland
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Reviews for Hedgerow:
Oct 17 /13 at http://jazzblog.ca
Hedgerow (Drac Yelrah Music)
In 2008, on the basis of Toronto-based, Ottawa-raised guitarist Harley Card's debut disc, Non-Fiction, I happily wrote: "Card proves himself to be an emerging voice with plenty to say."
Five years later, Card's released his follow-up CD, Hedgerow. It's a stronger, more varied and colourful album than Non-Fiction, that reflects Card's growth as a player and composer. Card, now 33 or so, is touring in support of it over the next few nights, bringing his quintet to Montreal (Resonance Cafe tonight), Ottawa (Options Jazz Lounge Friday), Kingston (the Wolfe Island Grill, Saturday) and Toronto (The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar, Sunday).
The disc of 10 Card originals opens with an expansive, direct winner -- a hard-hitting, odd-metered anthem called Get There featuring the full quintet, which includes saxophonist David French, pianist Matt Newton (a fellow former Ottawan), bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Ethan Ardelli. There are extroverted, go-for-it solos from Card, French, Maharaj and Ardelli on this track, which has a bit of the Fellowship Band's uplifting vibe to it.
You might also get that Brian Blade feeling from the pretty, layered piece Sophomore, and from the framing, tone poem-like sections of Crossing The Berg, with its bass clarinet-bass unison. However, the meaty middle of that track turns out to be a electric rocker.
Meanwhile, The Brain Chain and Flash Card Etude No. 1 (see my 2008 Q&A with Card for a possible explanation for this title) are lean, distinctive swingers for quartet (Newton sits them out). Card prioritizes his acoustic guitar on the knotty trio pieces Helicopters And Holograms, Coalescence and The Way. These tracks swap in bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Fabio Ragnelli.
The title track and Smutty Twig Men are substantial straight-eighths pieces for the quintet that includes Newton, Maharaj and Ardelli. The latter piece, defined in no small degree by Newton's shimmering electric piano, providing Card's disc with its most cool and groovy moments.
Despite its musical eclecticism and shifting personnel, Hedgerow hangs together nicely -- Card's sophisticated but accessible writing and the committed, well-measured playing from all hands are a potent combination.
The Harley Card Quintet plays the Options Jazz Lounge in the Brookstreet Hotel on Friday, Oct. 18 from 8 p.m. to midnight.
March 1 2008 By Peter Hum- Ottawa Citizen
Harley Card – HEDGEROW: Harley’s jazz guitar is one of the true pleasures of life… he’s joined by several of his mainstay players – David French on Saxophone; Matt Newton on Piano; Dan Fortin on Bass; Fabio Ragnelli on Drums; Jon Maharaj on Bass; Ethan Ardelli on Drums – in a recording you’ll elevate in your “repeat play” on your playlists. The opener, “Get There“, is svelte and totally hip! The 7:47 “Crossing The Berg” is one of the most engaging pieces you’ll listen to in 2015… total talent is on display here, and you’ll be surfing the web soon, looking for more of Harley’s works, after scoping this out with your headphones – the change in the middle of the tune will blow you A-way! My personal favorite, though, was the lilting & smooth pace on “The Brain Chain”… every instrument gets a chance to shine, and the recording is flawless! I give Harley & his crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99. You can get more information about Harley at the Harley Card pages. RotcodZzaj.com
HARLEY CARD QUINTET/Hedgerow: A jazz guitarist from the frozen north, Card has been working it out on the road for a long time and the result is a smoking set that's a fast ball right down the middle for the straight ahead jazzbo that wants it served with the smoke and the fire. Leading a crew of up and comers looking to make marks of their own, this is a swinging, groovy set that comes at you from deep in the pocket. Hot stuff that hits all the right notes throughout.
“One of Canada's best kept secrets, guitarist Harley Card's Hedgerow is a spatial exploration of modern jazz. The perfect storm!”
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
While the uninvited may not be familiar with Harley Card, this Canadian guitarist is the real deal. Hedgerow is the latest effort and showcases other critically acclaimed raising stars such as pianist Matt Newton and bassist Dan Fortin but this is indeed a collaborative effort. An almost three dimensional swing of meticulously textured yet nuanced sound. So, who does Harley Card sound like? Artistic comparisons while inherently unfair are sometimes necessary to simply give an idea or impression concerning the harmonic influences of a particular artist. Imagine the six string musical nirvana somewhere between Pat Martino and John Scofield. Card's technical proficiency is beyond reproach while his artistic soul draws from a rich color palate that allows each tune to develop a natural organic heartbeat.
Less is more and it is this zen like approach that finds Card moving from electric to acoustic while utilizing loops with taste and finesse. Other musical co-conspirators such as saxophonist David French, bassist Jon Maharal and split time between drummers Ethan Ardelli and Fabio Ragnelli push Card to a new artistic level of creativity. Hard bop, swing and a groove you can use are all here and are highlighted in tunes such as "Hedgerow" along with "The Brain Chain" and "Smutty Twig Men" are inventive and walk that delicate tightrope between the cerebral and visceral.
Similar releases by some of his American contemporaries are traditionally one note, find that groove then beat it to death! Card takes the listener on a captivating journey. Virtually flawless with an ensemble cast second to none!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Reviews for Non-Fiction:
Harley Card (DYM)
Expect the young Toronto-based guitarist Harley Card to make waves with his debut CD, Non-Fiction. Card, who spent his teen years in Ottawa, is a confident explorer of contemporary grooves and harmonies. His playing on electric and acoustic guitars strives for the warmth and flow of Pat Metheny, while his eight songs reflect considerable work and a love of complexity. The best of them -- the waltzing opener Soft Bank, the plaintive ballad Albany and the forthright swinger Right Arm -- are direct, fresh and substantial.
Card and pianist Matt Newton, a fellow ex-Ottawan, have a good rapport and a shared understanding of how to bring Card's songs to life. Newton is a tasteful player with a measured, every-note-counts approach. In fact, a listener might occasionally wish he played more, and at times he seems a bit submerged or muffled in the mix.
Bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Ethan Ardelli are young too, but they're seasoned players on Toronto's jazz scene, and indeed their contributions to the CD are the most strong and consistent, guiding the growth of each song.
With Non-Fiction, Card proves himself to be an emerging voice with plenty to say.
March 1 2008 By Peter Hum- Ottawa Citizen
harley card music 2013.