Guitarist Jim Hall is the sort of musician who displays such technical expertise, imaginative conception, and elegance of line and phrase that almost any recording of his is worth hearing. Still, Concierto ranks among the best albums of his superb catalog. For starters, the personnel here is a jazz lover's dream come true. Paul Desmond (saxophone), Chet Baker (trumpet), Roland Hanna (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Steve Gadd (drums) are on board, creating – along with Hall – one of the highest profile lineups ever put to tape. Yet Concierto is not about star power and showboating. As subtle, nuanced, and considered as any of Hall's output, the ensemble playing here demonstrates great group sensitivity and interplay, giving precedence to mood and atmosphere over powerhouse soloing. Conductor and arranger Don Sebesky evinces a chamber ambience from the sextet on "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," the smoky "The Answer Is Yes," and the Hall centerpiece "Concierto de Aranjuez".
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. This enjoyable LP has yet to be reissued on CD.
As the Paul Desmond/Jim Hall quartet's recording activities gradually came to a halt by 1965, RCA Victor assembled the remains of a number of their later sessions into one last album, adding two outtakes, "All Through the Night" and "Rude Old Man," when the album was transferred to CD in 1990. These are, however, anything but leftovers; indeed, they constitute the best Desmond/Hall album since Take Ten, more varied in texture and mood and by and large more inspired in solo content than Bossa Antigua and Glad to Be Unhappy. As a near-ideal example of this collaboration at its intuitive peak, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" opens with Hall paraphrasing the tune, and Desmond comes in on the bridge with a perfectly timed rejoinder that sounds as if he's asking a question.
The slightly unusual date Two Jims and a Zoot features tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims interacting with two guitarists (Jimmy Raney and Jim Hall) while given subtle support by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Osie Johnson. Although the eight selections (none of which caught on as standards) had all been written recently and sometimes display the influence of bossa nova, the quiet performances could pass for 1954 rather than 1964. The cool-toned improvisations and boppish playing have a timeless quality about them although for the time period aspects of this music already sounded a bit old-fashioned.
This [reissue] restores to circulation a strong Atlantic date from Art Farmer's immediate post-Jazztet period and features Farmer's quartet playing standards with swinging subtlety. Interaction, from 1963, is a vehicle for the intertwining improvisations of guitarist Jim Hall and Farmer, on flügelhorn, who weaves through and around Hall's sublimely understated lines with disarming ease, elegance, and sensitivity.
Guitarist Jim Hall is the sort of musician who displays such technical expertise, imaginative conception, and elegance of line and phrase that almost any recording of his is worth hearing. Still, Concierto ranks among the best albums of his superb catalog. For starters, the personnel here is a jazz lover's dream come true…