Entertainment Weekly - 10/30/98, p.117
"Not content to be our most poetic jazz guitarist, Hall has lately turned to arranging, with unsurprisingly intelligent and incisive results. Brass and string sections and impressive guests...make telling appearances on Hall originals as well as compositions penned by other jazz luminaries." - Rating: B
Personnel includes: Jim Hall (guitar); Jim Pugh (conductor, trombone); Paul Hostetter (conductor); New York Voices (vocals); Joe Lovano (soprano saxophone, clarinet); Greg Osby (alto saxophone); Jamie Flanagan, Lew Soloff (trumpet); Tom Harrell (flugelhorn); Alex Brofsky (French horn); Conrad Herwig (trombone); Marcus Rojas (tuba); Pat Metheny (acoustic guitar); Scott Colley (bass); Terry Clarke (drums).
Recorded at Clinton Recording Studio A, New York, New York from January 12-14 and on March 13, 1998. Includes liner notes by Devra Hall.
Personnel: Jim Hall (guitar); Pat Metheny (acoustic guitar); Ron Lawrence , Maureen Gallagher, Stephanie Fricker, Louise Schulman, Ann Roggen, Ronald Carbone (viola); Myron Lutzke, Maxine Neuman, Richard Sher, Rozlyne Clarke, Richard Locker, Eugene J. Moye (cello); Joe Lovano (clarinet, soprano saxophone); Greg Osby (alto saxophone); Lew Soloff, Jamie Finegan (trumpet); Tom Harrell (flugelhorn); Alex Brofsky (French horn); Conrad Herwig, Jim Pugh (trombone); Marcus Rojas (tuba); Terry Clarke (drums).
Audio Mixer: Michael Bishop .
Liner Note Author: Devra Hall.
Recording information: Clinton Recording, New York, NY (01/12/1998-03/15/1998).
Editors: Mark Tessi; Robert Friedrich.
Arranger: Jim Hall.
Long acclaimed for his understated lyrical approach to the guitar, Jim Hall's diverse arrangements on this CD are also first-class. His dazzling arrangement of John Lewis' "Django" features Hall with Pat Metheny, with both men on acoustic instruments for a change, accompanied only by drummer Terry Clarke and the occasional pizzicato accents of a 12-piece string section (violas and cellos!). Rarely has Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" been given such a fresh treatment; the brisk bossa nova rhythm, Joe Lovano's switch from clarinet to soprano sax midway in the piece, and Hall's interplay with Lovano and the strings, plus the dramatic sudden slowdown in tempo at the conclusion, make it stand out from the many recordings of this standard. The New York Voices provide a nice backdrop for Hall's solo on "Waltz for Debby," while Paul Desmond's rarely heard "Wendy" features the leader with the brilliant flugelhornist Tom Harrell, backed by a brass section. Hall's originals also merit praise: his lovely "October Song" has just a touch of melancholy with a fine viola solo backed by the strings following his solo introduction, while his challenging "Art Song" is a playful waltz. ~ Ken Dryden