Jim Hall

By Arrangement

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Long acclaimed for his understated lyrical approach to the guitar, Jim Hall's diverse arrangements on this CD are also first-class. His dazzling arrangement of John Lewis' "Django" features Hall with Pat Metheny, with both men on acoustic instruments for a change, accompanied only by drummer Terry Clarke and the occasional pizzicato accents of a 12-piece string section (violas and cellos!). Rarely has Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" been given such a fresh treatment; the brisk bossa nova rhythm, Joe Lovano's switch from clarinet to soprano sax midway in the piece, and Hall's interplay with Lovano and the strings, plus the dramatic sudden slowdown in tempo at the conclusion, make it stand out from the many recordings of this standard. The New York Voices provide a nice backdrop for Hall's solo on "Waltz for Debby," while Paul Desmond's rarely heard "Wendy" features the leader with the brilliant flugelhornist Tom Harrell, backed by a brass section. Hall's originals also merit praise: his lovely "October Song" has just a touch of melancholy with a fine viola solo backed by the strings following his solo introduction, while his challenging "Art Song" is a playful waltz.

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