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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet

JIM HALL

‘‘Downbeat’ Critics’ Choice’


TELARC JAZZ STEREO CD-83557

 

This compilation is taken from five previously issued TELARC albums by Jim Hall covering the period between1995-2001 and featuring musicians from the whole spectrum of modern jazz.

 

From ‘Dialogues’

 

From ‘Panorama’

1

Dream Steps

7

Pan-O-Rama

2

Stern Stuff

8

Furnished Flats

3

Snowbound

 

From ‘By Arrangement’

 

From ‘Textures’

9

October Song

4

Fanfare

10

The Wind

5

Quadrologue

 

From ‘Jim Hall and Basses’

6

Circus Dance

11

Abstract 3

   

12

Tango Loco


The CD provides an opportunity to listen to music composed and arranged by guitarist Jim Hall, something that has only emerged with force over the last few years even though he has been writing for some forty years. He has long been to the fore as a jazz performer both in energy and intellect. Unlike many bebop musicians and multi-note specialists the essence of his playing is recognized as having a rich sound coupled with a sympathetic and expressive approach to his work. He has become one of jazz’s most respected musicians by fans and peers alike.

The selections from ‘Dialogue’ feature Tom Harrell – flugelhorn, Mike Stern – guitar and Gil Goldstein – accordion. All three tracks are interesting especially Hall’s single note passages with Harrell on Dream Steps but of all three Stern Stuff really stands out. It is an epitome of how two guitarists, Hall and Stern, can work together and inspire each other to produce such fluid improvisation.

In the tracks from ‘Textures’ we find Hall playing acoustic and electric guitar along with a dozen or so other musicians – heavy on brass. Goldstein now conducts the orchestra. Circus Dance adequately expresses what the title means and after the ‘brass band’ intro Hall takes up the theme and his delicate acoustic guitar combines cleverly with whichever of the other instruments are featured in passages than run from simple to demanding – listen to the harmony!

‘Panorama’ has as its nucleus, Hall – guitar, Scott Colley – bass and Terry Clarke – drums. Overall it stems from several nights live recording at the Village Vanguard. Whilst the complete disc features many jazz stars such as Kenny Barron, Art Farmer and Slide Hampton here we only hear two guests Geoff Keezer on piano in the title piece Pan-O-Rama and Greg Osby plays alto saxophone on the second track. Pan-O-Rama is a lively samba that has Hall and Keezer musically exploring and analyzing what is a simple theme. Together they take every advantage to try out chord extensions and subtle harmonies.

The theme of October Song, from ‘By Arrangement,’ is introduced by delicate guitar playing from Hall together with full string accompaniment – it then leads to Louise Schulman’s solo viola. Hall and Schulman work well together and eventually the strings combine to enhance what is certainly a classical piece.

‘Jim Hall and Basses’ is without doubt the most intense of the five albums featured. Its quality lays in the way Hall’s acoustic guitar can compliment just bass accompaniment. Tango Loco is severe at times as the two bass players work together but relief comes just at the right time as Hall interjects with highly melodic passages.

This excellent album covers a cross-section from ‘good old swingin’ jazz’ to the more complex arrangements of modern music performed by some of the finest musicians around today. Highly recommended and a listening pleasure!

Jack Ashby

 



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