Jim Hall Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jim Hall Quartet 

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It's not just guitarists who speak Jim Hall's name in hushed tones. It's any pianist who's dreamed of simpatico partnering after hearing Hall's duets with the late Bill Evans; any horn player who's thrilled to the harmonic possibilities Hall offered to Sonny Rollins or Art Farmer on their much praised recordings; and the many unschooled listeners for whom Hall's feats of technique remain the secret foundation of his lovely and/or swinging improvisations. Lots of people laud his insinuating tone, his penchant for perfect melodies, and his "tastefulness," and I won't differ: in fact, Hall can sometimes be too tasteful (overly polite and a tad sleepy) for these ears. But not on his most recent recordings, including the newly released Live at Town Hall, Vol. 2 (MusicMasters), on which the music ricochets with spit and vinegar. Auguring well for Hall's Chicago appearance is the fact that he'll be joined by two of that album's sidemen--the terrific Canadian drummer Terry Clarke and bassist Steve Laspina, an indisputably excellent bassist--along with keyboardist Larry Goldings, another of those "young lions" who (based on his newly released debut album) actually deserves the title. Be forewarned: this could be one of the year's best gigs. Tonight through Sunday, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.


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