This recorded, intimate document was recorded at Jazz Beat during the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1990 and sees its first official release on this Impulse! volume.
Bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Jim Hall played a number of duet concerts together over the years, but this was certainly among the very earliest. Given their respective careers up to this point, both men had nearly perfected the artistry of playing in this particular chamber jazz setting.
That all said, it does not prepare the listener for the canny, intimate, yet absolutely electric interplay on offer here. From readings of standards such as "Bemsha Swing," "Body and Soul," and Skylark" through to Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround" and excellent originals by both men -- including Haden's bookends, the tenderly dissonant "First Song" and the knotty "In the Moment," and Hall's sprightly melodic Latin waltz "Down from Antigua" and his fingerpopping "Big Man Blues" -- this music is an adventure top to bottom. It unfolds gradually and cannily over 76 minutes. Ethan Iverson's liner essay is spirited, insightful, and illuminating to boot. This set is not only impossible to criticize, but adds an immeasurable depth to the catalogs of both artists.
1. Bemsha Swing (Thelonious Monk / Denzil Best)
2. First Song (Charlie Haden)
3. Turnaround (Ornette Coleman)
4. Body & Soul (John Green / Edward Heyman/Robert Sour)
5. Down From Antigua (Jim Hall)
6. Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael / Johnny Mercer)
7. Big Blues (Hall)
8. In The Moment (Haden)