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Dave Hertzberg's Hearts & Bones unite bluegrass and jazz with infectious melodies on new CD

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It is no exaggeration when Dave Hertzberg's Hearts & Bones claim that they are “Busting Out of the Gate" on their latest album, Don't Lose Sight of Your Song. Hertzberg's jamming bass, Alan Grubner's scorching fiddle, Rick Snell's rocking acoustic guitar, Joel Arnow's slamming drums, and Itai Kriss' soaring flute rattle the windows like a high-impact earthquake. No doubt about it: This is a band with relentless energy, but also one with a keen ear for infectious melodies.

Grubner's fiddling deepens the group's bluegrass leanings, and the album itself crosses the border between folk music and jazz. It's all quite intoxicating and refreshingly original as this New York-based act effortlessly unites elements from each. The stomping “Three Ring Sukkus" is another whirlwind of indelible hooks. Again, Grubner's fiery fiddle triggers an unmistakable bluegrass vibe as Hertzberg's punchy bass lines heighten the intensity of the groove. The tempo picks up with even more jaw-dropping action as Kriss' piercing flute duels with Grubner's knife-sharp fiddling.

Hertzberg's original compositions are characterized by a strong, uncompromising individual vision but his covers are daring as well. For example, Simon & Garfunkel's “Cecilia" is tweaked as a bracing bluegrass instrumental. Opening up with Arnow's jumpy drums, Grubner's swirling fiddle kicks it into overdrive as Snell's brittle riffs and Hertzberg's pounding bass blows the dust off the 1970 overplayed oldie. Hertzberg's take on “Cecilia" is symbolic of what this invigoratingly adventurous record does for jazz, which is breathing new life in grey-haired ideas.

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