Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jim Hall & Bill Frisell - Hemispheres

Jim Hall and Bill Frisell are two great modern jazz guitarists who display disparate styles that mesh together beautifully on this double-CD set of duets and quartet recordings. As much as the acoustically oriented but amplified approach of Hall is a classic sound influential to all mainstream jazz guitarists, he is extremely open to new directions, particularly on an improvisational level. Frisell is one of those many disciples, but his utilization of effects and loops is a realm Hall likely would not explore on his own. Yet somehow the common ground these two find is remarkably attractive, brilliantly conceived, and well executed by any criteria. The duo sessions, recorded here and there over a six-month period, also have deep roots in old-school concepts, as it was produced at Tony Scherr's home studio on an eight-track analog 12" reel-to-reel machine. The free pieces signify new beginnings for both guitarists, as Frisell's one-note electric pluckings during "Throughout" buoy Hall's improvisations in a composition that was played once, then recorded inversely with a pulse.
A thematic virtual bassline on the lengthy "Migration" is identified by Frisell's backward spacy loops in another reverse psychology idea. A chatty conversational "Bimini" exemplifies Frisell's desire to provide a sonic backdrop for Hall to offer the sparse and lean lines he is renowned for. They do Milt Jackson's "Bags Groove" straight forward, mostly acoustic with no effects, tackle Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" led by Frisell's signature chiming chords, play Hall's famous "All Across the City" completely peacefully, and offer a composed bluesy tribute to their wives on "Monica Jane." Adding bassist Scott Colley and drummer Joey Baron for the second CD, the program is half-standards, including the shuffle beat modal bass underscored "I'll Remember April," and a bright, thoroughly made up extrapolation on "My Funny Valentine" provided by the genius of Hall and Frisell's plucky tones urging Hall back to rhythm guitar. A tribute to the great Count Basie guitarist on "Owed to Freddie Green" illuminates one of Hall's biggest influences, as he takes the choppy swinging role of rhythm beyond conventional while Frisell counters, and they both dig deep into the bop bag during the Sonny Rollins standard "Sonnymoon for Two," employing Thelonious Monk like off minor angularities. They do explore the dark side on "Hear & Now," a macabre underground improvisation, and evoke a futuristic train motif during "Barbaro" as the rhythm section eggs on both guitarists. Colley is completely in his element backing yet another group of masterful musicians, while Baron prefers brushes to stick work, shading and embellishing the music, never pushing or prodding. This is one of the Artist Share projects thankfully inspired and funded by fans, and as Hall has collaborated with several other fellow plectrists through the years, this hopefully is not a one shot with Frisell, for it is far from a one-note effort. If you are a guitar maven, this will rank high on your must have list.
Michael G. Nastos

Source :

Jim Hall
Bill Frisell


Cd. 1

1 Throughout (Frisell)   4:36
2 All Across the City (Hall)  7:22
3 Bags Groove (Jackson)  3:58
4 Migration (Frisell, Hall)  15:22
5 Family (Frisell)  4:15
6 Waiting to Dance (Hall)  5:31
7 Bimini (Hall)   4:46
8 Masters of War (Dylan)  4:23
9 Beijing Blues (Frisell, Hall)  3:22
10 Monica Jane (Frisell)  6:53


Cd. 2

1 I'll Remember April (DePaul)  6:18
2 Barbaro (Baron, Colley, Frisell, Hall)  2:33
3 Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn)  8:19
4 Owed to Freddie Green (Hall)  3:58
5 Beija Flor (Cavaquinho)  6:43
6 Hear and Now (Hall)  6:01
7 My Funny Valentine (Hart, Rodgers)  5:18
8 Card Tricks (Baron, Colley, Frisell, Hall)  4:06
9 In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington)  7:26
10 Sonnymoon for Two (Rollins)  4:52


[Cd. 1]
Jim Hall - g
Bill Frisell - g
Recorded at Tony Scherr's House, Brooklyn, New York ; from July-December 2007
[Cd. 2]
Jim Hall - g
Bill Frisell - g
Scott Colley - b
Joey Baron - dr
Recorded at Sear Sound, New York City ; September 9, 2008


neil said...

Never heard them together before, mel; many thanks for the opportunity...

deGallo said...

Thank you...let's see how they play together ;)

pedro gamundi said...


AmyBRAINS said...

Great collection, Melanchthon.
Many, many thanks.

Guelda said...

Some great moments on those two records (one solo, one in quartet), and also some "dreamy" and "atmospheric" tracks, I guess it's called avant-guarde. I'm not that fond of those last ones nor of the effects used by Frisell, but they sure had fun playing together and you can feel it by listening.

Thank you very much for sharing this Mel

Prof. Yaffle said...

Thank you

Jordan House said...

Any chance of a re-upload? You are running an incredible blog.

Melanchthon said...

Gaetano Bevilacqua said...


Geoviki said...

Thanks for this gift from two great guitarists.

Kovina Kris said...

Very cool pairing. Thank you Mel!