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December 2006

Jerry Hahn
Hahn Solo
Migration

Having played in Gary Burton’s quartet after Larry Coryell and before Mick Goodrick, Jerry Hahn is an overlooked figure in the modern pantheon. He was destined, perhaps, to release a solo guitar recording, if only to give it the classic title Hahn Solo. On this concise set of standards he plays the Gibson L-4 that Bill Frisell gave him as a gift. The clean, broad stereo sweep of his sound brings to mind John Abercrombie, who surely checked out Hahn while coming up through the ranks.

Hahn’s song choices are tried and true: “My Funny Valentine,” “Stella by Starlight,” “Darn That Dream,” “Angel Eyes” and so forth. The two gospel numbers, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “As the Deer,” are a welcome twist. But Hahn could have ventured more outside the box. For the most part he runs the tunes down in tempo, with minimal rubato exploration—one of the key strengths of the solo format. To be sure, Hahn’s chordal resources are extensive and his sense of time is strong. But one wishes for more of the loose, meditative feeling he gets on the two Ellington pieces, “Sophisticated Lady” and “Prelude to a Kiss.”

Originally published in December 2006
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