Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Super tasteful jazz performance from the US guitar legend. “Just plain beautiful music. No bullshit.” That’s how Swedish trombonist Ake Peterson put it in June 1969 as he sat in the Berlin Teldec Studio control room listening to the recording session for Jim Hall’s album. Accompanied by American bassist Jimmy Woode and Swiss drummer Daniel Humair, Jim Hall played effortlessly; and he was swinging. Like Humair, many people viewed him as “the greatest guitarist alive”. Hall had already played with Art Farmer, Bill Evans, Paul Desmond, and Sonny Rollins, and was the first American jazz musician to play Bossa Nova pieces. Yet he had recorded only one album under his own name. Producer Joachim-Ernst Berendt wanted to change that. He had known Hall since they had met in Rio de Janeiro, and greatly admired the modest guitarist. Hall had come to Berlin with his wife Jane, a successful composer and singer, as well as a psychologist. The album’s title piece, “It’s Nice To Be With You”, is her composition. Hall also recorded “Up, Up, And Away”, a piece that was a worldwide pop hit at the time. “Pop musicians are writing good pieces nowadays,” the guitar legend commended. A member of Duke Ellington’s big band in the 1950’s, bassist Jim Woode lived mainly in Europe from 1960 until his death in 2005. Woode was one of the leading characters in German cult comedian-musician Helge Schneider’s film “The Jazz Club – the Early Bird Catches the Worm”. Drummer Daniel Humair continues to stand out as one of Europe’s leading jazz musicians.
Personnel: Jim Hall (guitar); Jimmy Woods (bass); Daniel Humair (drums).
Liner Note Author: Hans Hielscher.
Recording information: Teldec Studio Berlin (06/27/1969/06/28/1969).
Translator: Martin Cook.
Jim Hall recorded this trio session with expatriate bassist Jimmy Woode and one of Europe's top drummers, Daniel Humair, during a 1969 visit to Berlin. At first "Up, Up and Away," a Jimmy Webb composition that turned into a huge hit for the pop group the Fifth Dimension, might seem like an unlikely jazz vehicle, but it soars to new heights with the trio's inventive approach. Familiar standards include a snappy "My Funny Valentine" and an intensely lyrical "Body and Soul.' Producer Joachim Berendt's suggestion to Hall that he duet with himself via overdubbing resulted in "Young One, For Debra," a warm ballad tribute to Hall's daughter, and a breath taking rendition of "In a Sentimental Mood." He also revisits his "Romaine," utilizing a bossa nova setting (recorded previously with pianist Bill Evans on their classic duo date Undercurrent) and explores his wife's upbeat composition "It's Nice to Be with You" (a work that should have lyrics if it doesn't already). Only briefly available as a CD reissue of the earlier LP, this collectible release is well worth acquiring. ~ Ken Dryden