George Hart is a versatile and accomplished London-based drummer. He collaborates with many of the most talented jazz musicians of his generation and for the past ten years has performed on countless live gigs and studio sessions. George has played at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Dean St, 606, Jazz Café, The Vortex and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Currently, George enjoys working with the Matt Ridley Quartet, Solstice, Emily Saunders Band (ESB), Eric Ranzoni, The Stowaways (featuring Mike Edmonds, Carl Orr and Josh Kemp), Colin McKenzie’s Intransit and Jazzbomb. George features on albums by Brigitte Beraha, Ivo Neame, Phil Donkin, Seb Pipe, Yazz Ahmed, Dave Lee, Eric Ranzoni and Matt Ridley. You can find out more about these releases in the ALBUMS section.
George has shared the stage with numerous distinguished musicians and ensembles, including Swing Out Sister, Chris Laurence Quartet (featuring John Parricelli & Frank Ricotti), Seb Pipe’s Life Experience, Iain Ballamy, Tim Garland, Gwilym Simcock, Barry Booth, Lee Sankey Group (featuring Ian Siegal), F-ire Collective Large Ensemble, Timeline, Geoff Gascoyne, Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame, Phil Donkin, Red Kite, Richard Symons, Andreas Hatjimanolis, Brigitte Beraha, Yazz Ahmed, London Jazz Orchestra, John Huckridge Big Band, Paul Hart, Cathy Giles, Emily-Rose, Oboto, Tetragon, Serpentine Fire, Laurence Cottle, Janek Gwizdala and many more. He has also performed at various international Jazz Festivals, such as Jazz on the Mountain at Blue (Canada), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark), Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia) and Cork Jazz Festival (Ireland).
Coming from a musical family, George started playing the drums and performing at an early age. With strong encouragement and support from his mother (a fine professional cellist), he was soon acquainted with the discipline required to take up a musical instrument seriously. Initially he studied with George Scott, who had a uniquely musical approach to teaching drums, playing along with his students at the piano and giving a comprehensive introduction to both drums and orchestral percussion, including tuition in drum kit, rudimental exercises, timpani and xylophone. George also had some lessons with Les Circel, who got him thinking conceptually about the drums, as well as introducing him to more modern stylistic ideas.
George was introduced to jazz by his father, performer and composer, Paul Hart, with whom he played many of his first gigs. These were mainly in duo, trio and quartet settings and within jazz, fusion and rock idioms. Paul encouraged George to compose, and thanks to ready access to a professional recording facility (belonging to Paul’s jingle writing company, Joe & Co), the two of them were able to collaborate and record several joint compositions. This gave George an early introduction into the world of recording. In these formative years, George tried many other musical instruments including sax, bass and guitar, receiving tuition from Paul Keogh (Guitar) and Frank White (Saxophone) who both helped shape his musical outlook. Currently, George focuses on the drums, piano and composition.
In his mid teens, George began studying with the renowned drum teacher, Bob Armstrong, who was a major influence (see the INFLUENCES section). During this time, he joined NYJO2, directed by Paul Eshelby, as well as occasionally depping in the John Huckridge Big Band (a group he would subsequently join). This early experience proved invaluable in honing his sight-reading skills. He attended various summer schools, including the Glamorgan Jazz Summer School, where he came into contact with the drummer/percussionist and educator, Dave Hassell, who was also an important mentor.
In1998, George won an entrance scholarship to the undergraduate jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Trevor Tomkins, Martin France, Ian Thomas and Michael Mondesir. In 2002, he graduated with first-class honours. Whilst at the academy, he had the opportunity to meet and perform with many talented and inspirational musicians. He played in several innovative student ensembles, such as Red Kite, Sonic Mutation and Tetragon (who were finalists in the 2001 Perrier Young Jazz Awards).