When pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Ben Street and drummer Billy Hart, three of the most admired and respected musicians in jazz, assembled on one of the darkest, coldest nights of at the end of a difficult year of despair, they were merely together to perform for Smoke Jazz Club’s live-streaming concert series in celebration of Billy’s 80th birthday. What happened next was music of such illumination and joy, that it was quickly decided that the music should be preserved and shared as a recording. All Things Are is the result of those performances, capturing these three artists in peak form and revelling in the simple pleasure of making music together after so few opportunities in almost a year. Their record wasn’t planned in advance, but sometimes less planning leads to exceptional results. That these jazz all-stars from different generations, convening for the first time as a unit, achieved this sublime recital in an empty room, after a single rehearsal, is remarkable. That they were able to coalesce so fruitfully in this environment stems not only from their rarefied musicianship, but also mutual trust built on long-standing relationships.
Kevin Hays, piano
Ben Street, bass
Billy Hart, drums
“The drummer Billy Hart was a first-call musician by his early twenties. Six decades later, with a C.V. that spans jazz’s post-bop universe and an insatiable urge to strike creative sparks at every gig, he brings a wealth of experience and astonishing energy to the bandstand. This eightieth-birthday event, live-streamed from Smoke, finds him in typical form: mixing it up with crafty, and considerably younger, improvisers—the pianist Kevin Hays and the bassist Ben Street—each ready to soak up as much musical wisdom as he possibly can.”
– Steve Futterman, The New Yorker