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Charlie Haden/Jim Hall: Charlie Haden/Jim Hall

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Cut at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in July 1990, this Haden-Hall bass/guitar duet album smacks of affinity, several ways over. The opening “Bemsha Swing” commences with a super-fluid Haden bass riff, nailing the song’s outside-of-time feel while creating a distinctly ebon and quiet sound space for Hall’s guitar to come ambling in and try any manner of different directions. There’s flamenco chording, a chipper, almost Don Ho-like aside, but with the tunefulness of Charlie Christian in the Minton’s recordings. Not a bad little opener.

Haden’s original “First Song” continues this notion of flow, and just when everything feels mellow yet protean, like this is real primal start-of-the-earth stuff, the pair navigates into the all-out jaunt of Ornette Coleman’s “Turnaround.” Hall works in a “Blue Monk” quote, as though nodding back to the record’s start, an entry point left far behind by now.

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