This CD finds the legendary Hall in a live trio setting recorded at the Village Vanguard in ’04. The trio is Hall, Scott Colley on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums, and there are two things you notice right away: one is how good all the players are, the other thing is how well they interact. Hall, as always, is brilliant.
The opener, “Bent Blues” is a perfect example. A beautiful chordal and single-line intro leads to a fine, funky feel. And I don’t mean funky in the same way James Brown does. It’s bluesy, and builds through several changes, with each player coming along for the trip. There are a couple of warhorses that get wonderful treatment from the musicians. “Skylark” lets Hall show his superb skills as a soloist. “Canto Neruda” is an amazing piece that almost sounds experimental is some respects – very dramatic, with Hall interacting with Nash as he pounds away in various ways, as Colley lays a melody over the top. The version of “Body and Soul” here is a perfect example of why Hall is a legend among jazzers. It’d be easy to play this in a pretty standard way, but his solo is fresh and unique. About 10 minutes in (and yes, it does hold your attention for the entire time) he sets up shop alone, and the result is nothing short of fabulous!
If you have any interest in Hall or jazz guitar, this is for you. Age has not diminished his skills, and in fact he seems as adventurous as ever, and probably far more adventurous than most players half his age.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.