Given some free time over the holidays, I have finally gotten around to resurrecting this blog. My goal was initially to share lots of great recordings I’ve collected and archived through the years, but less than six months after starting the enterprise in late 2011, Megaupload was taken down by the powers to be, and I lost access to any easy way to publically disseminate the recordings I have (without paying a premium). Meanwhile, on the business end of things, time has moved forward, and the world is more networked digitally than ever, cloud computing is everywhere, the CD is dead and there are lower musical wages across the board; so my artistic, societal, and career concerns are more relevant than ever and could use a fresh examination. On the positive side of the digital revolution, I am now able again to make some musical offerings, so here we are!
The past year or so marked two very great losses for me in the jazz world, two of my biggest musical heroes, Jim Hall and Charlie Haden. Both were original voices and gentle souls musically with exquisite beauty and lyricism whose notes will be sorely missed.
I remember meeting Jim Hall in the lobby of a Marriott at the Rochester Jazz Festival a few years back. Steve Laspina introduced me, and to my dismay, an 80 year old Jim Hall stood up, supporting himself with a cane, offering his other hand to me and introducing himself by name, as if I would not know who he was. I was flabbergasted, and bid him to sit, telling him that he needed no introduction, and that I was quite musically and artistically indebted to him. From “These Rooms” with Tom Harrell, the duet albums with Bill Evans, and so much more, I’d have to say he’s on some of my all time favorite albums. And meeting him in person, you immediately had this sense of him being a “gentleman” in the truest sense of the word.
This past year, I’ve been revisiting all the live concerts I have of his, and thought this would be a great time to share a few.
The first is from a stellar 2005 European trio tour with Geoff Keezer and Scott Colley, great complements to Hall’s poignancy.
The second is a rare duo gem with Bob Brookmeyer, with Red Mitchell joining on two tracks…Stockholm 1982. Check out the beautiful interplay and ears of these guys interpreting standards contrapuntally and more. This kind of classicism is something I miss in much of today’s straight ahead music scene. There’s such a sense of space here which allows the music to breathe in chamber like quality, while never sacrificing the rhythmic feel.