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Jim Hall: Live!

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Album Review

This fine club date features guitarist Jim Hall in Toronto with two of the top Canadian jazzmen, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke. The interplay between the three players is sometimes wondrous, and although the five selections are all familiar standards (such as "'Round Midnight," "Scrapple from the Apple," and "The Way You Look Tonight"), Hall makes the music sound fresh and full of subtleties.

Customer Reviews

A Jazz Guitar Classic

I am a jazz guitarist that loves all the greats....Django, Charlie Christian, Wes, Joe Pass, Scofield, Metheny, etc. For most of my jazz guitar friends, Jim Hall was a bit of an acquired taste. Actually, he was for me, too. For many guitarists, the reaction seems to be, where are all the slick beboppin' notes careening off the walls? Jazz guitar is supposed to shred, like George Benson (I do love George),isn't it? As a guitarist, buying Jim's albums was initially frustrating, because, seemingly, there were no licks to steal from him. I knew I should "get it", but I didn't. As my ears matured I grew to understand that Jim is NOT about licks, and that that is a good thing. Jim is purely a jazz artist that channels his artistry through the guitar. He plays ideas, much in the way that Sonny Rollins does, respecting and exploring the theme, and, well, improvising......I mean, REALLY improvising (not plugging in licks through the changes). As with Rollins, when the magic is there, he reflects the essence of what a great jazz musician should be: saying something with a very individual voice. As I talk to horn players, they almost universally express great appreciation for Jim as a "jazz musician". They hear the music. Guitarists, too often, are so into the GUITAR, and all it's technical nuances, to "get it" when it comes to Jim.

So, I chose to go on my Jim Hall bandwagon with this album, because I feel it's one of his greatest (if not his greatest). In particular, this album features him playing extended solos and the listener gets to really hear him "get inside" a tune. It's free-wheeling and very spontaneous; perhaps more so than any of his other recordings. As with Rollins, you get the feeling that Jim is taking you on a splendid musical journey, as he is fearlessly flirting with danger. If there is a guitarist in jazz that is more able to spin out lyrical, musical lines than Jim Hall, I haven't heard him (or her). Whereas Wes Montgomery may arguably be the greatest jazz guitarist ever, Jim Hall may be the greatest jazz artist that just happened to play a guitar.

Great recording but...

...only one track??!!


Born: December 4, 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...
Full Bio