Undercurrent (1962, 2002) by Bill Evans and Jim Hall

Categories: 1962 and Music.

This is an excellent duo outing which shows off both Evans’ sort of left field brilliance and Hall’s kind of safe, kind of conservative, but still very pleasant and exceptionally played lines. (I feel like I’m a little hard on Hall and I really shouldn’t be.) It’s a perfect example of how greatness can be subtle – it doesn’t always have to hit you over the head. And it’s a perfect example of how the right pairings can bring out the best in players. This is sort of a match made in heaven in my mind. They are ideally suited Read More

Jim Hall and Pat Metheny (1999)

Categories: 1999 and Music.

I am not a fan of Metheny, though I’ve never really given him a chance beyond his debut. But I like Hall, now that I know him. And the two fit really well. Someone made a point about how the improvisations sound as “organized” as the standards and originals, and its kind of true. And that’s very impressive. And I like that Metheny keeps switching up his instrument so it keeps things from getting too monotonous, but they do anyway. That’s the one criticism: despite their clearly distinct styles, the whole thing manages to sound rather blah over the course Read More

Live! (1976) by Jim Hall

Categories: 1976 and Music.

Jim Hall is an excellent guitarist. I had never heard him before, but he’s fantastic. And, on this date, he’s backed by a great band, again made up of two guys I don’t know. And they are excellent as well. And the whole thing is fantastic. But I can’t shake one feeling, and that is that this record was made in 1975 and this is absolutely, totally bop. (Well, if I’m being honest, I guess it’s post bop, but you get my meaning.) And it’s the mid seventies. And he’s doing his thing, and his thing is great, but it’s Read More

The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark (1997) by Grant Green

Categories: 1997 and Music.

This compiles the first three albums Grant recorded with pianist Sonny Clark before the band was expanded to a quintet later in 1962. Interestingly, none of these albums were released until 1980 (in Japan) which, given the quality of the music, it’s really hard to understand. First we have Gooden’s Corner, recorded in late 1961, with both Nigeria and Oleo from January of 1962. (Again, all released in 1980, in Japan.) Burt the set isn’t presented quite like that, as Nigeria leads off the collection with the other two following chronologically. Nigeria is outstanding stuff, despite being full of standards, and makes Read More

Idle Moments (1964) by Grant Green

Categories: 1964 and Music.

Sometimes great music happens by accident. Apparently that’s what happened with the title track – it was never supposed to be so insanely long but somebody messed up and the band played the melody too many times. The result is pretty wonderful, if you love your cool jazz.And you know I don’t really. But I can respect it. And it’s not all cool, they do get “hot” (so to speak) on one of original tracks. The band is pretty stellar, particularly Hutcherson. Henderson appears to be really going against the grain, especially on the title track.But Wes was my first Read More

Songs We Know (1998) by Fred Hersch and Bill Frisell

Categories: 1998 and Music.

It’s hard to know what to make of this. I am not familiar with Hersch, but I am now very familiar with Frisell and I am sort of awed at how conventional this all is. Pretty much every song in this set has been done to death by various jazz bands throughout the last half-century or so. And the question for me is, why record them again? I know the answer, it’s because they wanted to. But that’s not enough for me. For the most part these don’t really go anywhere you wouldn’t expect, and though there are moments of Read More