Released: Apr 27, 1999
Genre: Jazz, Jazz Rock
Number Of Tracks: 17
The overall impression that I get from the duo's presentation is that of a unique chemistry, built clearly on respect for the other's technical, and compositional, abilities.
Jim Hall & Pat Metheny
Jake Jeremy, on march 14, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Just over a decade after it was released, Nonesuch Records re-issued the collaborative album from jazz guitar icons Jim Hall and Pat Metheny. Originally released in 1999, the recording sees Hall & Metheny on an album that for the most part is studio based with 6 live tracks on offer from the duo. Along with the reissue, a new album cover shows both Hall & Metheny sat, guitars in hand, mics placed, like two friends who have just met for a quick jam. However, if we could all "jam" like this, the world would be a far, far, better (and jazz-ier) place.
From the outset, the pair's studio recording of Hall's "Lookin' Up" gives a beautifully ambient feel that is displayed throughout the LP. The seamless ability of both players, both through their lead, and frighteningly accurate, more importantly groove laden comping fills the speakers to the point where you can be forgiven for forgetting this is only two guitars.
One of the most interesting aspects of the album is the live arrangement of standards, most notably "All The Things You Are", and "Summertime". The feel that Hall & Metheny create in "all the things" is that of almost a classical style piece, their impressive technical lines, interwoven with chromatic passages and "outside" playing during the arrangement feel almost effortless, and the way that both "fill" the sound with lower note passages to compensate for the lack of bass in the piece rounds out this chilled, yet technically striking piece. For "Summertime", Metheny to his acoustic to play a fast, ethereal rhythm to Gershwin's immediately universal tune. Hall's lead playing here stays sensitive to the original piece; with wonderfully "cool" note choices that plays a great contrast to Pat's consistently strong groove, with neither player sounding like a second fiddle to the other. // 9
Lyrics: Interspersed throughout the album are short improvisational pieces, with Metheny varying between his electric and 42-string beast of a guitar. The second improv piece leads to "Into The Dream", a Metheny composition that is among the highlights of the album. With Pat's reverbed "out there" sound of his 42 string, with smatterings of bodywork rhythmic bashing, counter Hall's traditional 6 string approach, although again, this isn't a case of the young gun outdoing the vanguard that is Jim Hall, not at all, the approach that Jim takes to the piece creates a great dissonance to the overall feel that lends to the Orchestrion compositional (Metheny's Orchestral mechanical offering) style that sits in the mix perfectly.
The final track on the album ("All Across The City") sees a calm, almost sincere rendition of the Jim Hall composition, where it feels like the set has come full circle, to the point where it feels that this was a choice of Metheny, to show his admiration for Hall, and all he has done for the jazz idiom, where Metheny clearly emulates Hall's playing, more so than at any other point in the album, and it sounds absolutely fantastic. // 9
Overall Impression: The overall impression that I get from the duo's presentation is that of a unique chemistry, built clearly on respect for the other's technical, and compositional, abilities. Unlike many other duo guitarist albums, where the younger player, performing with people they have emulated, almost gets to the point where the elder statesmen tries to keep up in speed and ferocity as said younger player (see, sadly, Carlton and Lukather) to the point where the collaboration feels unlike what it really should have been, two unique talents demonstrating their ability, while sensitively adding to the composition, a feat which in no unclear terms Hall & Metheny have performed to the uppermost standard, a treat from two of the greatest jazz guitarists, nay, musicians of all time, if only we could all jam like this, eh?