JIM HALL — Concierto (review)

JIM HALL — Concierto album cover Album · 1975 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
dreadpirateroberts
Jim is loose but precise across a set that includes an impressive reading of classical composer Rodrigo's famous 'Conceirto de Aranjuez.'

It's also graced by the likes of Ron Carter, Paul Desmond and Chet Baker (early on during his 1970s comeback) - which isn't to detract from Hanna (piano) or Gadd on the drums. It's simply that when Hall isn't stealing the show, it's usually Desmond or Baker, who all play it quite subtle and, basically, cool.

The opening side is made up of the shorter pieces, which have more bounce to them than the side long Rodrigo cover. 'You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To' has classic walking bass lines from Carter and Gadd working the ride while Desmond and Baker trade solos with Hall and Hanna (and a brief one from Carter later on). It's followed by 'Two's Blues' which covers similar ground before the slower 'The Answer is Yes' which is not quite as memorable but still pleasant enough.

As a CTI release, 'Concierto' features a Don Sebesky arrangement, and while for me it's hard to live up to Davis and Evans' version from the previous decade, this is impressive. Still attentive to the mood of the original, it's also willing to take a bit of a leap with the rhythm section, as when the bass and drums make their entrance at around four minutes in, it transforms the piece. Hall and the rest of the band are given ample time to solo. It's a piece you can get a lot of mileage out of, and Jim in particular is never too busy, placing the notes with the precision of a jigsaw. Everything fits.

The reissue nearly doubles the length of the album, including three alternate takes and two outtakes - like the swing-ish 'Rock Skippin' or the snippet of 'Unfinished Business' which features acoustic guitar.

Fans of jazz guitar should enjoy this and anyone interested in the 'cool' genre in general, just don't expect anything as meditative as 'Kind of Blue' as there is a little bit of punch to this album. Four stars.
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