[ This interview was originally published on July 16, 2013. ] Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential guitarists in modern jazz, Jim Hall has had an extraordinary musical career that spans more than half a century. His style is marked not by soaring speed or virtuoso technique but by his explorative artistry in improvisation, his solos' beautiful melodic and harmonic construction and his warm and rich tone. His discography includes more than three dozen recordings as a leader and an equal number as a sideman, including historic collaborations with Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Bill ...read more
Guitarist Jim Hall, now in his eighth decade, continues to be a vigorous performer, fresh-minded arranger and creative composer. He's been around so long, and done so much, that it's humbling to try writing something fresh about him: there is little to say that hasn't already been said, and in many cases quite eloquently. A Google search turns up a lengthy list of well-chosen adjectives: subtle, fluid, daring, poetic, empathetic, graceful, economical, experimental, intuitive, inquisitive. Many reviewers and writers have rhapsodized about Hall's rounded, dry-yet-warm tone, advanced harmonic sense, and exquisite use of space and silence.read more
Amongst the many CTI classics of the 1970s, few stand the test of time as well as guitarist Jim Hall's Concierto, an ambitious album that, in its original form, married one side of modern mainstream with a second taken up by a 19-minute version of Joaquin Rodrigo's 1939 piece for classical guitar and orchestra, Concierto de Aranjuez." That Miles Davis and Gil Evans had already delivered what was considered the definitive jazz adaptation on the trumpeter's 1960 classic, Sketches of Spain (Columbia), and that pianist Chick Corea had grabbed parts as the intro to his now-classic Spain," were clearly no ...read more
The art of the duo is nothing new to guitar legend Jim Hall. His one-on-one encounters with bassist Ron Carter have been wowing jazz fans for decades. More recent mano a mano musical encounters with equally sublime artists, like pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and guitarist Bill Frisell, have produced works that challenge but, ultimately, remain largely listenable. Conversations--Hall's studio encounter with drummer Joey Baron--ultimately, falls into the same general category. The fifteen tracks here are an odd, yet endearing, mishmash of musical material. The album opens with a sensational, and woefully short, take on Bag's Groove." A deep, ...read more
This article first appeared in November 1998. Questions were gathered from All About Jazz Bulletin Board members. From: Ken Brown Did you or do you now have a daily structure to your guitar practice? If so, how do you structure the different possible topics?
JH: My practice --since time is limited--is usually very specific (e.g. the pieces I'm currently performing), and includes speed improvement" and ear-stretching" stuff--whatever that means to you.
From: Ken Brown Do you have any tips for accompanying another instrument, like you did for Paul Desmond? Any common ...read more
There's good news and better news for the many fans of guitar great Jim Hall--counted among them a number of established guitarists who are, themselves, eminent. It would be hard to find a guitarist who doesn't look up to Hall and whose playing has not been influenced by him in some way. Players relish Hall's rich sound--the interesting melodic and harmonic ideas, the way he lets music breathe, the phrasing. The good news is that his most recent recording, the double CD Hemispheres came out in the latter part of 2008 on ArtistShare, teaming Hall with the amazing Bill Frisell.read more
The magic that occurs when student meets teacher on equal footing years down the road is rare enough. With Jim Hall--one of the most influential guitarists of the past half century--his spare approach, a reference point for younger guitar icons including John Abercrombie, John Scofield and Pat Metheny, has resulted in more magic than most. Hall and Metheny met successfully on Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (Telarc, 1999) and, while the elder guitarist also met briefly with Bill Frisell on a handful of tracks on Dialogues (Telarc, 1995), it was clear that the simpatico between them was profound and warranted ...read more
The first and lasting impression of this full-length collaboration between master and genre-bending guitarists Jim Hall and Bill Frisell is one of relaxed intimacy and indeed, this no-frills approach is one of the strengths of this project. Great affinity between great musician focused on creating music, who have the time and space to establish such rapport, and then share their creative process is the corner stone of fan-friendly label ArtistShare. The result is a much more satisfactory and successful process than the typical one offered by more established labels, who tend to celebrate such musical summits with redundant production fireworks.read more
Supported by the fan-funded alternative ArtistShare label, the two-disc release Hemispheres is collaboration between guitarists Jim Hall and Bill Frisell, joined by bassist Scott Colley and drummer Joey Barron on disc two. The recording documents how projects evolve when artists pull together without a plan necessarily to create unique product: a perfect recipe for invention.
It goes without saying that Hall and Frisell are masters of their instruments. Each has a specific direction and distinguishing channel in which to thrive. It helps that in this duo setting, longtime associate of Frisell, Tony Scher, is at the home-based mixing board.
On ...read more
Hemispheres is a wonderful collaboration between two esteemed veteran guitarists, Jim Hall and Bill Frisell. Though each has travelled different yet celebrated paths, this is their first full length (double CD) release together. Hall's masterful playing, tempered by a smooth rotund tone, has been appreciated since the 1950s in performances with such names as Chico Hamilton, Ella Fitzgerald and later collaborations with Pat Metheny and Greg Osby. Frisell (a former student of Hall) is considered to be one of today's foremost guitarists; a renaissance artist, comfortable in any format from mainstream jazz, Americana storytelling, to progressive rock ...read more
Free Association, the latest ArtistShare release from veteran guitarist Jim Hall--paired with a relative newcomer, pianist Geoffrey Keezer--offers music in a pure state. The duo creates a timeless, genre-less sound, a combination of virtuosic beauty and fluid give-and-take combined with a deft use of space.Jim Hall has collaborated on records with drummer Chico Hamilton, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, and tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, all legends. A legend himself now, the guitarist has also explored the duo setting with Bill Evans and George Shearing, and most recently with Enrico Pieranzuni on Duologues.Much is made of of the ...read more
Guitarist Jim Hall and pianist Geoffrey Keezer continue their association, which began in the nineties, with Free Association, a record that testifies to the intuitive interplay that they have developed over time. The music is at once stimulating and tantalizing as the two weave webs of intricate design. As always, Hall speaks an elegant language that's ornate without being overbearing, his notes singing his craftsmanship. Keezer also has that lyrical edge and an intuition that keeps his explorations focused and tantalizing.
Strings take first bow as Keezer plucks their resonance on End the Beguine, the motifs floating airily ...read more
It's becoming well-documented how Jim Hall has and is exploring the art of the duo in depth, whether with Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, or more recent associations with Enrico Pieranunzi and Geoffrey Keezer. And as classic as albums such as Undercurrent (Blue Note, 1963) or Jim Hall and Basses (Telarc, 2001) are, these more recent duo efforts find Hall continually pushing himself and his partners in ways that build off the past but embrace more modern aspects of jazz without losing the average listener. All this knowledge is presented in the more traditional sounding Cam Jazz release Duologues, and the ...read more
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