Guitarist Jim Hall is the embodiment of what makes jazz special. First of all, there's something so absolutely honest about his music. If you need proof that Hall is the greatest living jazz guitarist, ask Pat Metheny. Or Bill Frisell. Or John Scofield. They will tell you that Jim Hall is their guy. I suspect musicians admire Jim for many of the reasons that we do. Chiefly, Hall's asset is his ability to listen to the other band members. Just imagine all those Jim Hall duets with Bill Evans, Ron Carter, or any number of guitarists, not to mention his ensemble playing with Sonny Rollins... "Down From Antigua" is one of Jim Hall's trademark compositions. As many times as I've heard this tune, it still sounds fresh.
WBGO recorded the Jim Hall Trio at The Jazz Forum, February 5, 1983.
Jim Hall, guitar
Harvie Swartz - bass
Ben Riley - drums
I typically steer clear of superlatives when I write about musicians. My opinion is no less valid than any listener's opinion. That's one reason why I would never consider myself a critic. Just an advocate, really. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you that Roy Haynes is the greatest living jazz drummer. There. I said it. And I'm not just basing this on his accumulated career - you know, the 50+ years of playing with every major innovator since the late 1940s. Truth be told, Roy Haynes is eternally youthful, and he's still a badass. In July 1987, when Roy was a cool 62 years old (retirement age for the lucky few), he brought his quartet to Riverside Park in New York. WBGO recorded it for posterity, including this lovely jam on "All Blues." Donald Harrison is the saxophonist, Dave Kikoski played piano, Ed Howard is the bassist.
And the leader...Roy...(tap tap tap)...Haynes...
Click here to listen.