Jim Hall – Jim Hall's Three (1986)

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Photograph by Luke Lois

A great example of a player who’s equally comfortable in both traditional and “modern” settings.

On Jim Hall’s Three, his understated tone is employed to give beautiful renderings of things like “All The Things You Are,” and “Three,” as well as more angular pieces like the opening “Hide And Seek.”

If you’re not familiar with the name Jim Hall, you have still probably heard his guitar. Here’s a short list of his collaborators over the years: Chico Hamilton, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Giuffre, Ella Fitzgerald, Pat Metheny, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman. That’s a whole lotta jazz history right there folks!

Oh, and let’s not forget Merv Griffin. Merv Griffin? Yeah, I love this story. The guitar teacher who introduced me to the music of Jim Hall (thanks Gerry!) was such a fan of Hall that he attended a taping of the Griffin show because Hall was in Griffin’s band. Now, that is a true fan.

What I’ve always liked about Halls approach is its economy. He never overplays, looking for just the right notes. His comping style is fairly unique too. He sometimes turns the volume down all the way and just strums hard.

Obviously, that won’t work in support of a loud soloist. Underneath the bass solo of a Steve LaSpina or Ron Carter though, it’s quite effective.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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