American composer and pianist James Hurt grew up experimenting with various instruments in his childhood, before settling on the drums as a teenager. As an art student in Nashville, he played drums in marching bands, while learning music theory and composition. Having to create a piece every week led him to teach himself the piano, as a personal tool to compose and understand song structures. In the late 1980s, he met trumpeter Russell Gunn through a mutual friend, starting a long-lasting collaboration. In 1999, Hurt released his debut album on Blue Note, Dark Groove - Mystical Rhythms, featuring Gunn on trumpet, as well as saxophonist Sherman Irby, trombonist Robin Eubanks among others. Recently, Hurt participated in the Miles Davis tribute Bitches Brew Revisited, with DJ Logic and Living Colour founder Vernon Reid.