Jim Hall | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Guitarist Jim Hall produces this perfectly spherical tone--an invisible Christmas ornament, hung in the air, on which he drapes elegant, long-limbed melodies. His solos exhibit a startling economy: he trims his improvisations to the point where not a note seems wasted, giving his most relaxed and swinging solos a structural intensity. In fact Hall is a sort of jazz lapidary, whose simple and lovely creations belie the spectacular technique that makes them possible. In the 60s, his accompaniment work behind Sonny Rollins and Art Farmer focused attention an his quick and lively harmonic ear--his ability to sense and react to the shifting harmonies of the most complex solos. It's a subtle art, and one that you don't hear so much these days; but it comes to the fore again in Hall's new trio, which he unveiled on his just-released CD Something Special (MusicMasters), It features the brilliant bassist (and ex-Chicagoan) Steve LaSpina, terrific young pianist Larry Goldings, no drummer at all, and no end of richly woven interplay. This configuration marks the first time Hall has worked without a drummer since his duo with bassist Ron Carter 20 years ago and it inevitably recalls his remarkable one-on-ones with the pianist Bill Evans in the mid-60s: something special indeed. Tuesday through next Sunday, November 21, Jae Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

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