The Art Farmer-Jim Hall Quartet recorded only a handful of times in the early 1960s, making this reissue of two separate live performances all the more valuable. By the time Farmer recruited Hall for his new group, he had made the switch from trumpet to the richer sound of the flugelhorn, while the guitarist's style of playing complemented the leader perfectly. The first date originally was issued by Atlantic, though both the album and the subsequent CD reissue have long been unavailable; the rhythm section consists of Steve Swallow (who had not yet made the switch to electric bass) and drummer Walter Perkins. Except for Miles Davis' "Swing Spring," all of the songs are from the swing era. The extended workout of "Stompin' at the Savoy" is illustrative of the group's abilities, while Hall is featured in a lush setting of "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." The last five tracks first appeared on the Moon bootleg CD Meets Mulligan & Hall, though it too has been out of print for some time, with Pete La Roca (aka Pete Sims) taking over on drums. The sound of these performances is a bit muddy, as if taken from a second or third generation of a broadcast taping, though the music is excellent throughout the set. This Gambit reissue repeats the earlier CD's sloppy composer credits, which attribute the lilting take of "Sometime Ago" to Chick Corea instead of Sergio Mihanovich, though the addition of detailed liner notes is welcome. The heartfelt arrangement of "'Darn That Dream" and burning take of Sonny Rollins' unusual jazz waltz "Valse Hot" are also highlights.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden