Jim Hall / Pat Metheny

Jim Hall & Pat Metheny

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These two guitarists -- one an elder statesman, the other still a relatively young man in the midst of a stellar career -- are such a natural fit that it's amazing no one's thought of getting them together for a duo album before. Both play with a gentle touch and sweet tone, and both are capable of challenging experimentation, though each have spent most of their time in one mainstream tradition or another (Jim Hall in straight-ahead jazz, Pat Metheny in jazz-rock fusion). On this disc they focus on original compositions (Metheny's "Farmer's Trust" and "Into the Dream," Hall's "Cold Spring" and "Waiting to Dance"), but there are also tunes by Jerome Kern and Steve Swallow as well as the inevitable rendition of "Summertime." Their interplay is nothing short of astounding, and the five improvisational pieces scattered throughout the program sometimes sound as organized as the standards. The mood does get a little bit samey after a while, and the complete lack of high frequencies in both guitarists' tones might leave you wondering if you've got water in your ear. But overall, this really is a wonderful album.

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