Jim Hall & Red Mitchell – Valse Hot: Sweet Basil 1978

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COMPOSERS: Jim Hall,Red Mitchell
LABELS: artistShare
ALBUM TITLE: Jim Hall & Red Mitchell
WORKS: Valse Hot: Sweet Basil 1978
PERFORMER: Jim Hall (guitar), Red Mitchell (double bass)


The original Jim Hall/Red Mitchell LP, a live recording the duo made in 1978, is a hard-to-find collector’s item. Lucky, then, that previously unreleased tapes from the same shows at Manhattan’s Sweet Basil club were discovered by chance in Jim Hall’s apartment after his death in 2013.

The lovingly remastered reel-to-reel tapes captured a priceless gig of the sort that’s rarely seen today: an intimate, informal masterclass in improvisation by world-class players in front of a small rapt audience.

The partnership and place were perfect, Hall’s mellow, luminous guitar lines swinging in tandem with Mitchell’s poetic, melodious bass through a programme of choice standards. There are delicious digressions and diversions, but not a dead spot nor blind alley to be found.

Whether it’s tiptoeing through the haunting ballad ‘Alone Together’ or making a detailed, deep blue study of ‘God Bless the Child’, the interplay is simply sublime.


Garry Booth