421

Jim Hall: Magic Meeting

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Hall: Magic Meeting Some artists use an onslaught of sound to envelope the listener; others use quiet to draw them in. It's interesting how even in a conventionally noisy club, when a compelling artist plays at a low level the audience seems to naturally quieten down, sitting on the edges of the seats and leaning forward to better hear what is going on. Such is the case with guitarist Jim Hall, one of the most soft-spoken artists in jazz and, arguably, one of the quietest players. While there is the occasional tinkle of a glass on his latest release, the live at the Village Vanguard Magic Meeting , one can tell from the first note that the audience is not only actively engaged, it is positively spellbound.

For his first trio recording in ten years and also, coincidentally, his first album on the fledgling cooperative ArtistShare label, which has already seen a successful first release by Maria Schneider, Hall demonstrates that aging has nothing to do with complacency. From the first notes of his original composition "Bent Blue," he demonstrates as contemporary a musical vision as artists half his age, all the while maintaining the grace and elegance that has characterized his playing since he emerged in the '50s playing with artists including Jimmy Giuffre and Bill Evans. Edginess is sometimes mistakenly corresponded with modernity, and while Hall is nothing but smooth tones and rounded edges, his harmonic conception continues to evolve, with lines that are at times soft and approachable, other times more oblique and abstruse.

Half the programme is dedicated to more outer-reaching material, including the aforementioned "Bent Blue"; saxophonist Joe Lovano's "Blackwell's Message," where drummer Lewis Nash coaxes all manner of sound with sticks, brushes, hands and fingers; and the folk-like "Canto Neruda," which is a showcase for bassist Scott Colley's always inventive solo work. The other half, while comprised of more standard fare including "Skylark," "Body and Soul" and the Sonny Rollins favourite, "St. Thomas," where Hall uses signal processing to give his instrument a steel drum-like texture, may be more immediately approachable, but Hall, Colley and Nash make them equally vital vehicles for collective improvisation. Hall has often been called the Bill Evans of the guitar, but his conception is far more spacious. Capable of swinging bebop lines, Hall is more disposed to favouring simple but distinguished lines where the decay of the note is as important as the note itself.

Hall's guitar sound alternates between a warm hollow body tone, which may be processed with effects like a harmonizer on "Bent Blue" and "Blackwell's Message," and a more natural acoustic sound. Every sound is faithfully recorded by engineer David Oakes, who manages to capture every nuance and every subtle shading from each member of the trio. Magic Meeting represents another advanced watermark in a career filled with high points, refined and graceful while highlighting an artist who continues to search for new avenues with every recording.

Magic Meeting can only be purchased through ArtistShare or Jim Hall on the web.

Track Listing: Bent Blue; Blackwell's Message; Skylark; Canto Neruda; Furnished Flats; Body and Soul; St. Thomas.

Personnel: Jim Hall: guitar; Scott Colley: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ArtistShare | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Fractured Pop" CD/LP/Track Review Fractured Pop
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Subtle Energy" CD/LP/Track Review Subtle Energy
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Quantum Man" CD/LP/Track Review Quantum Man
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!