JJ 06/94: Jim Hall – Something Special

Thirty years ago Graham Colombé enjoyed hearing something other than the 'nebulous, meandering' Hall - as long as it lasted. First published in Jazz Journal June 1994

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The opening track is indeed something special. This is not the nebulous, meandering Hall, but an incisively swinging player who’s clearly enjoying himself. The catalyst perhaps is the piano, whose role Hall has frequently usurped in the past. Goldings plays with a firm lyricism and, at times, a mature and welcome spareness, while LaSpina is an excellent musician whose pitchi­ng, timing and inventiveness are all admirable.

Not everything on the CD lives up to the promise of the first track. Steps is an odd, avant-garde excursion (which could possibly be tongue-in-cheek) and the slow solo version of Deep In A Dream is rather aimless, but the rest of the programme confirms the optimism engendered by the title track.

There are originals by all three men and they explore a range of medium tempos, several with a Latin tinge. The sense of pleasure in playing together is everywhere apparent and if Hall doesn’t record with Goldings again, let’s hope he tries collaborations with some other pianists – preferably with LaSpina doing an encore.

Discography
Something Special; Somewhere; Down From Antigua; Steps; (2) Deep In A Dream; (1) When Little Girls Play; Three; Lucky Thing; Up For Air; Con­sequently (60.29)
(1) Jim Hall (el-g); Larry Goldings (p); Steve LaSpina (b). NYC, March 1993. (2) Hall only.
(Musicmasters 518 4452)