HEATHER HARDY "I Believe"
By STUART FAXON
Whaddya do with a violin? You play European classical music on it . If you call it a fiddle, you play American country music on it.
If you're a swinger like Ray Nance or Claude Williams, or masterful improviser like the late Stephane Grappelli, you play jazz on it. If you're like David LaFlamme or Jerry Goodman, you play rock or fusion on it.
Consequently, few people play blues violin. Sugarcane Harris, perhaps Papa John Creach I can't even name more than one currently working: Heather Hardy.
The woman who now proudly wears Sam Taylor's nickname for her has no problems with the other associations of the violin. With her classical experience and horn-like electric guitar approach, she neatly sidesteps the issue s and dissolves them.
Hearing her play, you have no doubt that this is a violinist, and this is a blues player. You hear the blues, then you remember it's a violin. That's mastery of form. Yet because it is a violin, it lends her blues elegance usually not found outside jazz. A few years back I heard her in acoustic duet with Mike Norgerg and first realized what an extraordinary musician she is.
I Believe is Heather's second CD and its release party will have taken place May 2o at Boondocks by the time you read this. No doubt it will be/was every bit as good as draw as that for the Bluffingtons. All Tucson music fans know Heather as well as they now Sam Taylor. She played in his band here for years and he drew out her vocal ability, which is growing and headed toward the height occupied by her playing.
Heather's been back in New York for a few years now and that's where she put this CD together late last year with what sound like some of the best musicians that scene has , including Mike Nordberg, keyboardist Dona Oxford and a guest shot from Sam.
The tunes are all Heather's except one of hers and Mike's, and one of Sam's. I'd blather more about them, but I had to tape our president's copy and return it, then write on deadline when no one else would. Hey, that's my job!
Heather, that was my band that gave up your May 20 date at Boondocks. We'll be in Sierra Vista but I expect to get bribed off with a real copy of your fine CD! Seriously. I'd be there to buy it but I always seem to be outta town when this stuff happens.
I Believe is a strong effort with a tight band and songs, not too heavily produced, and with a one-of-a-kind headliner worthy of national attention. Hello, distributors?