Monday, February 1, 2016

Jim Hall Trio - Magic Meeting

Some artists use an onslaught of sound to envelope the listener; others use quiet to draw them in. It's interesting how even in a conventionally noisy club, when a compelling artist plays at a low level the audience seems to naturally quieten down, sitting on the edges of the seats and leaning forward to better hear what is going on. Such is the case with guitarist Jim Hall, one of the most soft-spoken artists in jazz and, arguably, one of the quietest players. While there is the occasional tinkle of a glass on his latest release, the live at the Village Vanguard Magic Meeting , one can tell from the first note that the audience is not only actively engaged, it is positively spellbound.
For his first trio recording in ten years and also, coincidentally, his first album on the fledgling cooperative ArtistShare label, which has already seen a successful first release by Maria Schneider, Hall demonstrates that aging has nothing to do with complacency. From the first notes of his original composition "Bent Blue," he demonstrates as contemporary a musical vision as artists half his age, all the while maintaining the grace and elegance that has characterized his playing since he emerged in the '50s playing with artists including Jimmy Giuffre and Bill Evans. Edginess is sometimes mistakenly corresponded with modernity, and while Hall is nothing but smooth tones and rounded edges, his harmonic conception continues to evolve, with lines that are at times soft and approachable, other times more oblique and abstruse.
Half the programme is dedicated to more outer-reaching material, including the aforementioned "Bent Blue"; saxophonist Joe Lovano's "Blackwell's Message," where drummer Lewis Nash coaxes all manner of sound with sticks, brushes, hands and fingers; and the folk-like "Canto Neruda," which is a showcase for bassist Scott Colley's always inventive solo work. The other half, while comprised of more standard fare including "Skylark," "Body and Soul" and the Sonny Rollins favourite, "St. Thomas," where Hall uses signal processing to give his instrument a steel drum-like texture, may be more immediately approachable, but Hall, Colley and Nash make them equally vital vehicles for collective improvisation. Hall has often been called the Bill Evans of the guitar, but his conception is far more spacious. Capable of swinging bebop lines, Hall is more disposed to favouring simple but distinguished lines where the decay of the note is as important as the note itself.
Hall's guitar sound alternates between a warm hollow body tone, which may be processed with effects like a harmonizer on "Bent Blue" and "Blackwell's Message," and a more natural acoustic sound. Every sound is faithfully recorded by engineer David Oakes, who manages to capture every nuance and every subtle shading from each member of the trio. Magic Meeting represents another advanced watermark in a career filled with high points, refined and graceful while highlighting an artist who continues to search for new avenues with every recording.
All About Jazz, October 12, 2004, John Kelman

Source :

Jim Hall
Magic Meeting


1 Bent Blue (Hall)  8:50
2 Blackwell's Message (Lovano)  13:04
3 Skylark (Carmichael)  9:18
4 Canto Neruda (Hall)  6:37
5 Furnished Flats (Hall)  8:25
6 Body and Soul (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour)  11:03
7 St. Thomas (Rollins)  6:49


Jim Hall - g
Scott Colley - b
Lewis Nash - dr

Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York City, April 30 through May 2, 2004


ZM-JazzRock said...

Jim Hall is one of my favs guitarists. Thanx a lot for this post. Cordially,
-- zm from SP, Brazil

Orbyt said...

This one's new to me, thank you Mel!

Kovina Kris said...

Always ready for another Jim Hall record. Thank you very much!

Jazzman said...

please the PW for Jim Hall magic meeting RAR is?

zeca74 said...

thankyou very much

Baruch said...


Use "melanchthon"

Heervee said...

JH: Thank you Mel for this Jim Hall I do not have, the comments are really giving me the desire to listen

Anonymous said...

Very nice. JM is a big and fine guitarist. I look for a Sonny Stitt records : Stitt goes latin". Because my vinyl is very old. please. Thank.

SlimStew said...

Thanks!--I never knew about this one.

luthier said...

Jim Hall plays beautifully, but he sounds terrible. How unfortunate this is!

For the longest time, his horrible tone prevented me from appreciating his music, until I heard some of the stuff that he recorded back in the 1950-60's. How come he doesn't care about getting a good tone anymore? (Assuming that he doesn't...)

Thank you Mel for sharing this. Like I said, the playing is great.

jose arboleda said...

Muchas gracias.

Wade Cottingham said...

thank you Mel for this Jim Hall

AmyBRAINS said...

Thanks a lot, Melanchthon.

Cri said...

Mel, could you repost, please!?

Melanchthon said...

alfred venison said...

thank you very much. -cheers, a.v.

Fred Archtop said...

Thank you Mel.

deGallo said...

Like this! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mel, many thanks - not the first time you delight us with your gifts.

Guelda said...

luthier wrote :

"Jim Hall plays beautifully, but he sounds terrible. (...) his horrible tone (...) How come he doesn't care about getting a good tone anymore?"

I respectfully disagree, I dig this wooden tone. He sometimes uses effects which I appreciate as well, but I prefer his natural tone, no way (and no need in his case !) to hide behind delay or reverb.

Excellent sound on this recording (and the rip) and the performance is flawless.
Superb intro to "Skylark". I'm less fan of tunes like "Canto Neruda" where Hall strums strings with small variations for several minutes.

Thank you very much Mel for sharing this one !

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!