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Jordan Hall: Something Different (2004)

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Jordan Hall: Something Different How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

While doing some research on another jazz artist, I thankfully stumbled upon the debut Something Different by young violinist Jordan Hall. Recorded in 2003 at the age of 18, Hall has a sound reminiscent of violinists Michal Urbaniak, Didier Lockwood, and Regina Carter that draws from a variety of modern sources. The mood is stylized for contemporary jazz airplay with catchy tunes and urban rhythms, but there is also depth to Hall's ability to transcend stereotypical musical formats.

Notwithstanding the smart production by veteran violinist John Blake, who has high praise for the young Hall, the credits include jazz heavies—pianist Edward Simon and guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, along with a sure rhythm section. Hall plays both acoustic and electric violin with a silky yet highly trained presence. On the opening "Paradise" he takes his time and delivers a soulful and heartfelt solo that would seem beyond his youthful demeanor. Little touches such as his use with harmonics and bow manipulation just prove his ability, whether reinterpreting the jazz standard "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk or exploring a clever take on the classic "Bach Double Concerto" by J.S. Bach. It is clear that Hall has great potential.

Things get down right funky on the classic tune "Sunny" and take a cool glide on the John Blake piece "Blue Heart" as Hall and Jef Lee Johnson trade some serious yet smooth solos. Hall is clearly capable and seemingly comfortable in different settings as he gives a stirring and poignant performance on "You Must Believe in Spring" with Edward Simon bringing his usual piano forte. At a brief but adequate 44 minutes, the recording concludes with the too short "Release," with Hall and Lee crunching electric guitar/violin solos in a hard rock setting that leaves the listener anticipating more.

For samples and downloads visit Jordan Hall on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Paradise 2. Round Midnight 3. Azules 4. Bach Double Concerto 5. Sunny Hebb 6. Blue Heart 7. You Must Believe in Spring 8. Release

Personnel: Jordan Hall - electric and acoustic violin; Edward Simon - piano; Jef Lee Johnson - electric and acoustic guitar; Avery Sharpe - electric and acoustic bass; Johnathan Blake - drums; Marion Simon - percussion.

Style: Contemporary/Smooth


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