Improvisation - it's always been about placement.

My friend Phil Sudo, author of Zen Guitar, and I never got to finish our duets project together.
Phil lost his brave battle with stomach cancer and has moved on up.
Improvisors familiar with his writings and recordings who would like to participate in a fund-raising CD to benefit Phil's survivng wife and children are invited to contact me.  TOUCHTHIS

Improvisation Journal
Bret Hart discography

Improvisational Duets Series
(begun Summer 1999)

Basic Guidelines:
Ask yourself, "What are my extended techniques?"
Then, exploit them to tape.
Sourcetrack by "Initiator" is improvised with/against, in real-time, during recording of response by "Finisher".
Avoid all overdubbing.
Simultaneous use of multiple instruments is great.

Document the mating of two distinct solo performances into a whole greater than the sum of the individual perceptions.

Improvisational Duets Series 27-39    
Available NOW or coming soon from

Amy Denio    v.1  itids#39

Eric Wallack  V.2  itids#38

 Ken Hyder  V.1  itids#37
"...the Hyder/Hart team are at a zenith stage on this CD!  Actually, if mem'ry serves me correctly, I don't think I've heard Bret improvising against a percussionist all that frequently... but this guy Ken is a killah...There are some reviewers who tend to write this kind of experimentation up as something that "anybody with a washboard & a  guitar" coulld do... & while that may be true (in one sense), it is pure balderdash with music like this duo is playing...anyone with even a dollop of adventure in their blood will fall in love with this beautifully odd CD... I did... enough so that it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!"  - Rotcod Zzaj Improvijazzation Nation # 59

Eric Wallack  V.1  itids#36
"Some of the most seamless and attractive guitar/string based improvisation you will ever hear!...what really strikes me as I listen to this is the hearkening back to my earliest listening to Hart's solo guitar works...When I first met Bret, he talked (muchly) of how important he felt it is to keep improvised music(s) non-linear... that if you truly want spontaneity, you must drop all  preconceived notions.  There is, in my ears, no better example of spontaneous guitar playing than this (particular) duets CD." - Rotcod Zzaj  Improvijazzation Nation # 59
"I wonder if I played this for a group of free-improv fans and told them it was a Fred Frith/Derek Bailey duet how many would believe me? Not that Bret and Eric sound like Frith and Bailey but this is definitely in that realm." - Jerry Kranitz/AI 

(cover art: bhh)
Mika Rintala V.2  itids#35

(cover art: bhh)
Mika Rintala V.1  itids#34
"Finnish musician Mika Rintala has been the subject of a fair bit of ink in Aural Innovations, having submitted several of his highly creative Verde releases which showcase Mika's many imaginative homemade instruments. Mika has notably also been a member of Circle and Ektroverde. But the thought of what a Bret/Mika pairing would produce sounded pretty tantalizing...There's plenty of variety here. Strange spacey electronics and percussion workouts. (Check out the last track for a totally cosmic UFO ride!) Wailing rock guitar against pulsating drones. A few of the drones start off hypnotic, but gradually build in volume and power until it seems like your head might split." - Jerry Kranitz/AI

(sourcephoto: Bulbous Confusion)
Funkmeister G v.2   itids#33
"Sublime frantic avant gtr improv skronk." - Ben Waters 

(cover art: Hargreaves)
Phil Hargreaves v.2   itids#32 

(cover art: bhh)
Bob Jordan v.3   itids#31 

(cover art: bhh)
John Jasnoch v.2   itids#30 
(cover art: bhh)
Fred Hall v.4   itids#29 

(cover art: bhh)
Steve Blake v.2   itids#28 
(cover art: bhh)
Greg Segal   itids#27
"Ambient guitar, both meditative and aggressive, is accompanied by more abstract improv guitar to produce an enjoyable and always interesting  ombination. There's also some Frippoid guitar and rumbling acid-space work that gives a cosmic edge to the music, and waffles tentatively around the noise line, without ever crossing too far over it."  JK - AI

Press, Ink Splatter and Other Textual Observations
Free-Improv Case Studies: Bret Hart's Duets Series  2/2002 A.I. Article
Four Music Reviews from Aural Innovations
Zzaj Splat
Aural-Innovations Interview
Homemade Instruments

Improvisational Duets Series 1-26    

Tragic Bunny & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Jeff Mills: electric guitar, tons o' pedal effects, loops and layers
Bret Hart: electric guitar, Pignose amp, Boss BR8, water
[Duets Series release itids 26]
"Intentional or not, this is like avant-improvisational space rock, with lots of sounds that recall the glorious early 70'ssonic rock explorations of bands like Hawkwind and Guru Guru, not surprising given some of the music I've heard from Automatic Music. The music is acidic to the max, but the multiple layers are clear and distinct rather than being a wall of noise mish-mash."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Phil Hargreaves & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Phil Hargreaves: sax, flute, sourcetracks
bhh: guitar, pan-jo, prepared guitar, hose-bone samples, organ
[Duets Series release itids 25]
"One of my favorite tracks has Phil off on a sax rant accompanied by Bret playing what sounds like avant-ambient Japanese koto music. But Phil's sax, which is traditionally a high volume and imposing instrument, is played in a frantic but quietly subtle style. He's busily cranking out his jam, but with a restraint not often so more jazz rooted tracks where we get to hear what a fine  usician Phil is...some of the flute tracks remind me of Sun Ra's old cool jazz sounds, though Bret's additions give the music an edge that Ra would have surely considered mental therapy."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations

Larry Marotta & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Larry Marotta: acoustic guitar, sourcetracks
bhh: banjoto, dobro, ScIrving 1, prepared guitar, electric mandolin, looped gtr samples, saz
[Duets Series release itids 24]
"Some of the best moments are the most sparse... percussive attacks on a string or the guitar body, often with several seconds between each, allowing each note or sound the opportunity to make its statement. String manipulations that produce harsh or ambient sounds, and run an impressive range of tones and textures."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations

Mark Kissinger & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 2"
bhh: dobro, treatments, final arrangements
Mark Kissinger: slide guitar, guitar sounds
[Duets Series release itids 23] 

(cover art: Ben Waters)
Bret Hart & Ben Horrendous: "DUETS - Volume 2"
bhh: sourcetapeBen Waters: guitar and bass additions
[Duets Series release itids 22] 

Bret Hart & Rotcod Zzaj: "DUETS - Volume 1"
bhh: sourcetapes
Dick Metcalf: Kurtzweil keyboard
[Duets Series release itids 21]
"I love hearing such seemingly divergent sounds parallel and blend so naturally. "Another Flight Of Stares" takes this style a step further with Zzaj taking off on a more overtly free-jazz jam on piano while Bret creates a mini symphony of bangs and bells. If given a title I'd have called this album "Symphony For Alterna-Jazz Keyboards, Cosmic Tones, And Cool Bangin' Shit".Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Fred Hall & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 3"
Hall: electric guitarH
art: percussion, tone-shifting
[Duets Series release itids20] 

Bob Jordan & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 2"
Jordan: guitar, percussion, keyboards, tape-manipulation/looping
Hart: stereo electric guitar
[Duets Series release itids19]
"...enough instruments and toys to make a two-man improv and found sound orchestra."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Bob Jordan & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 1"
Jordan: guitar, percussion, keyboards, tape-manipulation/looping
Hart: stereo electric guitar
[Duets Series release itids18] 

Funkmeister G & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 1"
Halliday: anarcho-guitar & piano
Hart: environments, low sounds, tape-manipulation
[Duets Series release itids17]
"It's like hearing an improv performance in a working machine shop, a setting that works quite successfully. Ripping guitar leads blaze alongside measured industro-noise beats, and all manner of free-improv guitar stylings cohabitate with harsh electronic fuzz tones and sonic swirls."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Don Campau & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 2"
Hart: Strumstick, E-Bow, Can-Jo, dobro, flour sifter, etc.
Don Campau: Gibson Ls Paul XR-2, Gibson ES175, Lyle classical guitar, and Yamaha steel-string acoustic guitar; all played simultaneously with effects
[Duets Series release itids16]
"The guys grabbed me right out of the starting gate with a bit of drone and noise psychedelia that includesfree-improv guitar ("Howl"). Is it avant space rock? Perhaps so. "Kessel/Crumbs" is another standout track with very cool dual guitars, one playing somewhat jazzy patterns and the other strumming in a style that straddles the line between jazz and avant-rock." Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Fred Hall & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 2"
Hall: electric guitar
Hart: other sounds
[Duets Series release itids14]
"...a more minimal work. Repetitive, slowly developing patterns are a trademark of this set...the music has a strong noise-ambient quality...atmospheric and image-inducing." Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Bret Hart & Tom Nunn: "DUETS - Volume I"
bhh: strings, wood, metal, woodwinds, electronics
Tom Nunn: "T-Rodimba", "Bug-Arp", "Nailboard"
[Duets Series release itids13]
"Atmospherics are prominent on this collaboration, the stringed instruments often sounding like an avant-garde chamber orchestra with plenty of wind instrument sounds like flutes and whistles. Percussive sounds are equally in the forefront, and at times I thought I was hearing vibes... a strange Caribbean feel.."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Bret Hart & John Jasnoch: "DUETS - Volume I"
bhh: percussion, slack-string gtr, 'hosebone', 'tubeflute', banjo-ukulele, Vietnamese moon lute, electronics
John Jasnoch: electric gtr, lap steel, soprano 12-string electric gtr, fretless baritone gtr, mandolin, tenor banjo, oud
[Duets Series release itids12]
"Frith/Bailey styled improv guitar, but add lots of extra textures like electronics, dashes of noise, and percussives to keep things varied and interesting. Many of the tracks are less than a minute, but everything flows so seamlessly from beginning to end that I was oblivious to the fact that this wasn't one continuous performance. The subtlety of the playing is striking, and only attentive listening reveals some of the most proficient musicianship of the series. The musicians dance like ballerinas across the fretboards, the shred guitarists of free-improv. Yet exploring, discovering, and sharing a range of sounds, tones, and textures is as much a part of the adventure as the splendid playing."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 
Phil Kellogg & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Phil Kellogg: slide guitar, shoutingBHH: dobro, preparations
[Duets Series release itids11] 
Scotty Irving & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Scotty Irving: acoustic and electric slide guitars, E-Bow, "The Crutch"
bhh: E-Bow resonated stringed instruments & homemades
[Duets Series release itids10]
"Things get a bit clashing and banging at times, though the noise levels are very controlled. I'd say my hands down favorite track is "Knitting Factory" which consists of fiery jazz/ethnic percussion alongside the E-bow atmospherics. I never cease to be amazed by the variety of sounds that can be wrenched from stringed instruments and the Duet's releases are genuine case studies of this phenomena.Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 
Steve Blake & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Blake: electric guitars
Hart: dobro, Can-Jo, Strum-stick
[Duets Series release itids9]
"Whooooo-eee!!! This sucker opens up with some sonic space blasts á la Space Ritual-era Hawkwind, the guitar rumbling and screaming as it does it's brutal space magic."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations

(cover painting: Ben Waters)
Bret Hart & Benjamin Horrendous: "DUETS - Volume I"
Horrendous: bass, clean & distorted electric guitar, slack-string guitar
Hart: solidbody electric mandolin, banjo-uke, electric saz
[Duets Series release itids8]
"...a glorious marriage of contrast and cooperation, and the superior sound quality helps bring each element to forefront. Definitely one of the stronger entries in the Duets series. When I first put on the CD I went directly to the last track as a penned note from Bret on the tray card mentioned that a bread machine is heard on it. Sounds cool... I would have never guessed."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 
Bret Hart & Alonzo Phillips: "DUETS - Volume I"
Hart: dobro
Phillips: acoustic and electric guitar
[Duets Series release itids7] 
Fred Hall & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Hall: electric guitar
Hart: guitar, bass, things
[Duets Series release itids6]
"...oodles of rumbling guitars that build a wall of feedback and drones, and are accompanied by layers of varied guitar patterns which include chaotic and noisy takes on traditional styles. I love all kinds of traditional music, and Bret and Fred succeed in creatively destroying a parade of styles including country and Blues, giving it all a crazed acidic blast of energy and pure sonic thrust. Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations
Don Campau & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Campau: acoustic, electric, and classical guitar
Hart: dobro
[Duets Series release itids5] 
David Wortman & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Wortman: reeds and woodwinds
Hart: guitar, dobro, prepared guitar
[Duets Series release itids4]
"We have listened to (even played on) many of the artists/combos that Bret has put together for his extensive "Duets" series.This one is a perfect matchup, any way you listen to it, tho'... Wortman's horns weave in, under, around & through strange string soundscapes that Bret paints for Wortman to play against.  Much thicker & richer than any of the others in this series, to my ears... If memory serves me right, Bret started out with horns (way back in HS), so playing against Wortman's reeds is a natural!"Dick Metcalf - Improvijazzation Nation"With this set the Duets series has scored another hit in the wild and wooly contrasts department, incorporating "almost" standard jazz stylings into the avant-garde free-improv realm."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 
Mark Kissinger & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume I"
Mark Kissinger: guitars
Bret Hart: low sounds
[Duets Series release itids3]
" From the left speaker comes crazed avant-acid rock string raking, and from the right comes semi-dissonant single notes. The contrast really stands out given that the listener is blasted so cleanly with these varied guitars from left and right."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations

Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Bret Hart: "DUETS - Volume 2"
Diaz-Infante: prepared guitar
Hart: tape-montage, "musique cement", sampling, tape loops[Duets Series release itids2]
"...explores different territory than the first, this outing again featuring Ernesto on prepared guitar, but Bret contributing electronics and tape manipulations instead of instruments. A series of guitar manipulations are accompanied by drone electronics and not unpleasant levels of noise. The electronics get pretty heavily into the space-drone/noise realm, with Bret exploring some of the coarser corners of the cosmos. There's even some parts that reminded me of old 1950's sci fi flick soundtracks, though much grittier than the standard ooh-wee-ooh sounds."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations  
Bret Hart & Ernesto Diaz-Infante: "DUETS - Volume I"
Hart: dobro, Strum-Stick, Can-Jo, electric mandolin, homemade instruments
Diaz-Infante: prepared guitar
[Duets Series release itids1]
"Hart uses electric saz and E-bow which, along with the prepared guitar, creates a variety of noises and notes. There's really a lot happening here, the duo functioning more like a band constructing something along the lines of an experimental symphony."Jerry Kranitz - Aural Innovations 

Hey Ernesto, THANK YOU for helping kick-start this sprawling billboard for free playing!