Jim Hall

A Life in Progress

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This warm portrait of guitarist Jim Hall's career focuses primarily on the making of his Telarc CD By Arrangement, though it has numerous flashbacks to various highlights from his long career. One of the things that is most apparent is Hall's willingness to take chances doing new things, constantly exploring different combinations of instruments and working with a wide variety of musicians instead of settling in with a comfortable routine. Hall -- whose many contributions are discussed by Chico Hamilton, Art Farmer, John Lewis, Pat Metheny, and Joe Lovano (the last two are also participants in the By Arrangement sessions), as well as critic Nat Hentoff and producer John Snyder -- is a low-key interview subject; in fact, his soft-spoken commentary is comparable to his approach to his instrument. It is surprising that interviews with Jimmy Giuffre and duo partner Ron Carter weren't obtained for this documentary, though logistical problems may have precluded them. One wishes for more historical footage of Hall in the studio and in concert than is present, but either the film and video don't exist or the escalating price of acquiring them made it impossible to include more. It is impossible to view this video without a warm feeling about Jim Hall, whose status as one of the most important jazz guitarists and a brilliant composer and arranger should be readily apparent to anyone familiar with his work.

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