Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Album of the Day: Intermodulation, by Bill Evans and Jim Hall

I'm starting a new feature on this blog, it's called, "Album of the Day." No, I probably won't be updating every single day with a new album, but I want to write some shorter pieces about things I've been listening to recently.

Today's album is "Intermodulation," by Bill Evans and Jim Hall, from 1966. So just who are Bill Evans and Jim Hall, you might ask? Well, Bill Evans is one of the most highly-regarded jazz piano players of the last half-century. (He played on "Kind of Blue." Need I say more?) And Jim Hall is a well-known jazz guitar player, who played with Paul Desmond on several albums in the 1960's, as well as recording numerous titles as a leader. Evans and Hall are the only musicians on the disc, and "Intermodulation" was actually their second collaboration. "Undercurrent," from 1962, was their first, and is a classic album. "Intermodulation" might not be quite in the same league, but it is an enjoyable listen. Evans and Hall's playing styles fit together very well, which is why a piano/guitar duet album actually works. Both had quiet, understated approaches, but both musicians were also incredibly technically gifted.

The songs on "Intermodulation" are mostly laid-back, slow-tempo ballads, which act as showcases for their styles. The only real swingers on the album are the opening song, "I've Got You Under My Skin," and "Jazz Samba." Evans and Hall each contributed one original song, Evans's gorgeous "Turn Out the Stars," and Hall's "All Across the City." If you like "Undercurrent," you should definitely check out "Intermodulation." Also, if you're a fan of either one of these musicians, or if you just like hearing two great musicians who have great chemistry together, take a listen.

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