Jim Hall: Live! (1975)
This is why another excellent reissue in the Verve Lp reproduction series, Jim Hall Live!, is so welcome. The music is taken from a series of 1975 club dates at Bourbon Street in Toronto, and features Hall in a trio with Canadians Don Thompson and Terry Clarke, with whom Desmond also made some great Bourbon Street recordings. The three obviously hit it off famously, and it is a pleasure to hear Hall let it rip on these five standards. The group is swinging and appealingly loose, going for broke so much that they get a little confused at the end of "Scrapple From the Apple" and humorously grasp for an ending to "The Way You Look Tonight".
Although bassist Thompson (who also made the clear and lifelike recording---what did he do, push the faders with his toes?) takes some nice solos (check out the quote of "One Note Samba" in "Angel Eyes"), this is Hall's show, and he doesn't disappoint. He combines beautiful single-note phrases with his trademark chordal runs to weave a tapestry of continual invention on a long "Angel Eyes", caresses the many harmonic possibilities of "'Round Midnight", and boppishly burns his way through "Scrapple". "I Hear a Rhapsody", taken at a sprightly pace, features some excellent counterpoint soloing by Hall and Thompson. Drummer Clarke provides tasteful, but unobtrusive contributions throughout.
For fans of Hall familiar only with his more mannered playing, this freewheeling live date will be a welcome revelation.
Track Listing: Angel Eyes; 'Round Midnight, Scrapple From the Apple, The Way You Look Tonight, I Hear a Rhapsody
Personnel: Jim Hall, guitar; Don Thompson, bass, and Terry Clarke, drums