Personnel: Bill Evans (piano); Jim Hall (guitar).
Recorded at Soundmakers, New York, New York on April 24 and May 14, 1962. Originally released on United Artists (1500). Includes liner notes by David Rosenthal.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Occasionally during UNDERCURRENT one expects the other shoe to drop: the growl of a bass entering in half time, wire brushes falling patiently into place on a sizzle cymbal. It never happens, and that's ultimately the allure of this duet record. The pleasure of these eight cuts (two of them previously unreleased, all of them recorded over two days in the spring of 1962 in New York) lies in the sense of overhearing a private conversation between two particularly thoughtful people.
The tunes are mostly standards, and they conjure a noirish, rainy-night aesthetic. There are a few exceptions, though--the blues come gleaming through on the limber "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and the more reflective "Romain." The kickoff tune, "My Funny Valentine," is the set's cooker. Evans pecks out the melody, encouraged by Hall's deft counterlines. As Hall's solo gets under way Evans provides a pointillistic background that grows in intensity, urging on the guitarist, who replies with increasing heat before passing things off to Evans and getting into some spirited comping of his own.
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