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Jim Hall and Basses

Jim Hall

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Album Review

Jim Hall is no stranger to guitar/bass duets after several memorable outings with the likes of Ron Carter and Red Mitchell, but this series of studio sessions is even more challenging, mixing it up in pairings with Dave Holland, Christian McBride, Charlie Haden, George Mraz, and Scott Colley. Only three of the 13 pieces are standards, including a soft and sparse treatment of "All the Things You Are" with Mraz, a whisper-soft and slowly savored "Don't Explain" with Haden, and a switch to acoustic guitar for a tense "Besame Mucho" with Colley. Hall's skills as a composer are vastly underrated by the jazz audience as a whole, but his fellow players recognize his formidable skills. He makes a relatively rare appearance on a 12-string acoustic guitar in his challenging opener, "End the Beguine," in which he and Holland rise to the demands of this captivating piece. McBride joins the leader for the playful waltz "Dog Walk," while Colley, Hall's regular bassist at the time of these recording sessions, joins him for the invigorating "Dream Steps," a reworking of the chords to the standard "You Stepped Out of a Dream." In addition to several memorable duo (or trio) improvisations, Hall is joined by both Colley and Mraz for the initially loping and suddenly very abstract "Tango Loco," featuring Mraz's tasty arco bass. Hall's adventuresome streak as a composer, arranger, and performer continues to flourish.

Biography

Born: 04 December 1930 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A harmonically advanced cool-toned and subtle guitarist, Jim Hall was an inspiration to many guitarists, including some (such as Bill Frisell) who sound nothing like him. Hall attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and studied classical guitar in Los Angeles with Vicente Gómez. He was an original member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet (1955-1956), and during 1956-1959 was with the Jimmy Giuffre Three. After touring with Ella Fitzgerald (1960-1961) and sometimes forming duos with Lee Konitz, Hall...
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