PH-50-NC | Southeast USA | 11/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hall's small handful of Concord albums in the 1980s were sort of studio extensions of the sound and approach found on the great trio record "Jim Hall Live!" album from 1975. This, the final Concord session, adds keyboards to the trio sound, but otherwise the record is another mix of standards and originals played in his inimitable style. The 90s saw Hall mix things up with a new concept or unusual grouping of musicians on almost every release; it wasn't until 2004's Magic Meeting that he cut another record with a standard rhythm section where he didn't share the spotlight with a horn player or more elaborate orchestration. Hall usually succeeds on at least a few cuts no matter what his concept or context, but the Concord records are easy recommendations for those who want more of his earlier sound and style that influenced many, many players from the famous to the weekend warriors.
Trivia time: Anyone notice that the cover of this 1989 release is similar to the cover of John Scofield's 1989 "Flat Out", with the difference being that Scofield's cover is shot at night and Sco's rooftop backdrop is grittier and more "urban" feeling (a bit of graffiti on the low concrete ledge is all you see behind Sco, whereas Hall sits in an elegant rooftop garden). I've always wondered if Sco was paying a little tribute, though it could easily be a coincidence or even Hall tipping his hat to John."