By James Hale | Published February 2017
Tribute recordings so frequently come across as overly contrived projects with only minimal commitment by the artists involved that you have to readjust your perceptions when you encounter a genuine one. On the surface, bringing together four highly disparate guitarists to celebrate one artist might seem as high concept as these types of projects come, but the focus is the late Jim Hall—and few jazz masters in the past 20 years have wielded so much influence or attracted so much love.
Veteran Americans John Abercrombie and Peter Bernstein are directly part of Hall’s lineage of combining harmony, melody and guitar voicings in interesting ways. Norwegian Lage Lund and Serbian Rale Micic are a generation removed, but have displayed an interest in pushing Hall’s legacy into the future. Each of the four gets a solo piece, six duets present various combinations, and the four combine for an exploration of the harmonic possibilities of Hall’s 1963 composition “All Across The City.”
Inspired runs a certain risk of being of interest only to guitarists—it is, at its extreme, the ultimate six-stringers’ nerd-out session—but the ability of the players to find a variety of ways to combine different motivic approaches generates interest. The combination of Abercrombie and Lund on “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” is a particular highlight, as the two display an exceptional level of creative interplay and responsive listening.
This is a recording that exudes warmth, going beyond the sweet-toned instrumentation to the depth of feeling these four guitarists have for the subject of their tribute.
Inspired: Dream Steps; Alone Together; Bon Ami; My Funny Valentine; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; All Across The City; My Ideal; I Should Care; Body And Soul; I Hear A Rhapsody; Embrace- able You. (55:53)
Personnel: Rale Micic, John Abercrombie, Peter Bernstein, Lage Lund, guitars.