I had the pleasure of seeing Jim Hall live in Hartford, Connecticut two nights ago (being a fan myself, I was very excited to see him play for the first time). The trio consisted of Scott Colley on double bass and Lewis Nash on drums; a great complement to Jim Hall’s gentle and expressive guitar playing. He had his Sadowsky signature guitar with him, along with a Polytone Mini Brute amp, a chorus pedal (looked like a Boss, but I’m not sure), and a harmonizer pedal. I was impressed to hear how soft he can play sometimes and how clear the band’s sound was. I was really impressed when Lewis Nash shook his brushes in the air and I was able to hear them (that’s the level of softness I’m talking about). The music was all about creating moods and landscapes. No pyrotechnics, no poses. I really enjoyed it.
Jim Hall is known to be a gentle and sophisticated guitar player, but he can get pretty wild sometimes, and can still sound as modern as anybody today (maybe because guitar players today actually sound like him). On the program notes, Jim Hall was quoted as saying that he hopes he has grown musically all these years, that he thinks a musician should grow. I think he definitely has. Jim Hall, now 76 years old, has always been an innovator, a musician always stretching to embrace new influences, something that is very hard to do for many musicians after some point.
This same trio released a CD recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 2005, called “Magic Meeting”. They played some of the tunes from this record: “Bent Blue”, “Blackwell’s Message”, “Skylark” and “Body and Soul”. They also played a really nice version of “All The Things You Are”, “Careful”, “Hide and Seek”, “Flat Furnace” and a short improvisation they named “Peace” (I know I’m missing some names). Jim Hall mentioned that he only gets to play with Colley and Nash about once a year now, so I was really lucky to catch this show.