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on August 5, 2011
This reissue includes the first two albums on which Jim Hall was the leader, namely "Jazz Guitar" recorded in January 1957, on which he was joined by Carl Perkins on piano and Red Mitchell on bass; and "Good Friday Blues" by the Modest Jazz Trio from April 1960, on which Red Mitchell switched to piano and Red Kelly took his place on bass. That is supplemented by seven of the eleven tracks from the album "Folk Jazz" recorded in February & November 1959 by the Bill Smith Quartet, in which the clarinetist leader was joined by Hall, Monty Budwig on bass, and Shelly Manne on drums, and all seven tracks from the Paul Desmond album "First Place Again" from September 1959, with support from Hall, Percy Heath on bass, and Connie Kay on drums.

My preference is for the two Hall-led trio albums, where the guitarist is primus inter pares, and where his cool but lyrical style is well-matched by the piano and bass accompaniment. The result is often low-key but always swinging, and highly satisfying. On the quartet albums the piano has been replaced by drums, and the balance has shifted with the introduction of new leaders, both on reeds. The "Folk Jazz" album is something of a curio, since Bill Smith is not a familiar name, and the tunes are not natural jazz vehicles. In the original sleeve note, which is reproduced here, Nat Hentoff writes "...he is not afraid of a good, devastating consonance..." and that's amply borne out here. Paul Desmond needs no introduction, and devotees of his singular style of playing will not be disappointed.
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on December 17, 2012
I don't know why they call this three Classic Albums +....It's digitally remastered (great sound BTW) & actually from 4 of Jim's vinyls.But I don't want to be too picky.
This has to be one of my top 10 CD sets (2) where the great Jim Hall is either feaured as a sideman or leader. As a former jazz musician (guitar) I have about 100 jazz guitar albums *(I have about 1000 jazz CDs). There's no point in talking about the tunes on these CDs. Jim ranks right up there with Kenny Burrel, Ed Bickert, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow; the list goes on & on.
Of all of the guitarists in the world, I would never say who I think is the best.
However, I will say that Jim is the most creative. He has done much experimentation, & I didn't like that too much. The first album I got by Jim Hall was called "Two Jims & Zoot." Still one of my favs today. You should get it as well.
Highly recommended.
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on May 3, 2013
This collection contains a diverse selction of great tunes performed by one of the greatest jazz guitarists. He doesn't go for speed and flash but delivers great arrangements and an impeccably clean sound.
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on April 24, 2012
I purchase this for the Paul Desmond portion. Fantastic improvement over other reissues of the Desmond.
This may be best CD pressing of 1960 Desmond I've heard.
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on October 20, 2012
Good early cuts by Jim Hall , but only about half really show his best guitar work. Good side men on most albums.
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on May 29, 2015
Jim Hall in his heyday. One of my favorite guitarists ever.
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on July 26, 2014
Jim Hall is always interesting no matter who he plays with. Bill Smith's playing fills a nice niche in the history of jazz clarinet and where jazz was going at the time.
The revelation is Paul Desmond who plays with great fire and imagination.This is not the mellow, "dry verrmouth" Desmond of the 60's and 70's. It makes you wonder what kind of music he would have produced had he stuck to this earlier path.
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on September 20, 2014
I love Jim Hall, but had only been familiar with his work in the 70s and 80s. This set of albums gave me a great overview of his earlier work. I especially like that Jimm Hall is not the leader on all of these records, because it also allowed me to hear him as a sideman; and he rocks at this role! I especially love the way he comps with a very scratchy-acoustic sound. Finally, I would say that the Bill Smith album 'Folk Jazz' is the unexpected highlight of this set of records.
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on May 27, 2015
Great value for money great jazz at it's best.
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on January 8, 2015
Great jazz from all time greats!
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