Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

366

Jim Hall: Downbeat Critics

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
At the top of his game...

Seventy-two-year-old Jim Hall shows little indication of slowing down. He has been performing on the Telarc Jazz roster since 1994 and has produced nine recordings for the label, only missing 1996 as a release year. These recordings have received broad and receptive commentary from the critical community. These recordings approach jazz from a variety of directions, all intelligent, all inventive. Telarc, who has recently released a spate of compilation discs ( Signature Songs , Telarc Jazz—Celebrating 25 Years , In the Pocket—A Taste of Blues Harmonica ), has hit a home run with Jim Hall Down Beat Critics Choice, which will surely make this writer’s end-of-the-year-best-of list.

I typically do not laude these types of compilations, but this one is so uniformly fine and complete that it cannot be ignored. Here in a mere 72 minutes is an intimate look at what Mr. Hall has been doing the past 10 years. This disc hinges on the three pieces from the groundbreaking Textures (Telarc Jazz 83402, 1997). This music is composed and scored for guitar and brass and guitar and strings. It has a major modern classical flavor and is very similar to James Chirillo’s work with John Carisi on "Counterpoise #2" from Sultry Serenade .

The swinging planks on either side of this hinge are decidedly progressive jazz in different forms. The disc opens with three selections from Hall’s 1997 release Dialogues (Telarc Jazz 83369) where the guitarist duets with trumpeter/composer Tom Harrell on an ethereal "Dream Steps," fellow guitarist Mike Stern on an atmospheric "Stern Stuff." These duet selections are concluded with "Snowbound" performed with Gil Goldstein on the accordion. The result of this pairing is best described as Maurice Kagel meets Astor Piazzola. On the other side of the quasi-classical hinge are selections from Live at the Village Vanguard (Telarc Jazz 83408, 1997), which features 1950s-style blowing with Geoff Keezer and Greg Osby. By Arrangement (Telarc Jazz 83436, 1998) selections sport Hall performing with Louise Schulman’s solo viola and Greg Osby’s alto saxophone and the New York Voices, all in a very progressive, yet disciplined mode.

The disc closes with a pair of tunes ("Abstract 3" and "Tango Loco") both with Hall performing against the dual basses of Scott Colley and George Mraz from Jim Hall and Basses (Telarc Jazz 83506, 2001). The results are a continuation of Hall’s foray into the semi-classical/semi-jazz realm. I could not endorse this disc any more strongly. It is the perfect representation of Jim Hall I the later part of his career. Discs like this make one wish for many more healthy and happy years of this musician and music.


Track Listing: Dream Steps; Stern Stuff; Snowbound; Fanfare; Quadralogue; Circus Dance; Pan-O-Rama; Furnished Flats; October Song; The Wind; Abstract 3; Tango Loco. (Total Time: 72:19).

Personnel: Jim Hall

Title: Downbeat Critics | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Telarc Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Life In Space" CD/LP/Track Review Life In Space
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Shadow Work" CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Somewhere Glimmer" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017