JIM HALL Live!
A&M SP-705 (1975)
Few jazz fans would disagree that Jim Hall is one of the most important and influential guitarists of this era. He's also one of the most versatile, as anyone who's heard his work with such artists as Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond, Ron Carter, and Pat Metheny can attest. Though the majority of his work falls within the (creative) mainstream, he's equally at home in avant-garde surroundings (listen to his "out" improvisations with Metheny on their album of duets).
Stylistically, Live! sits comfortably within the mainstream, though it has a loose, free feel. It was recorded at Bourbon Street in Toronto in June of 1975 with bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke. Polite crowd chatter can be heard in the background, lending the album a warm, "you-are-there" intimacy. Hall's style of playing mainly in the middle register of his instrument blends well with the rhythm section; if Hall were a saxophonist, he'd probably play tenor. From the bluesy "Angel Eyes" to the elegantly contrapuntal "'Round Midnight" to the bubbly, bouncing "Scrapple from the Apple", each track showcases the trio's effortless creativity and empathy to each other's playing.
Here's a clip of Hall with an unidentified rhythm section; though it was recorded more than ten years before the making of this album, his tone and style are distinct and consistent, as they have been throughout his career.