Concert at the 92nd Street Y

Last night I attended a concert at the 92nd Street Y titled Jazz Legacy: A Portrait of Jim Hall. My reaction is favorably biased, of course, as Jim is my dad, but it was a great concert, really. I’m not going to review it — hopefully someone else will, but I will tell you that my favorite part of the program was the second half. That’s when an unusual string section consisting of six cellos and six violas played on three compositions: a Jim Hall original titled October Song, an arrangement of John Lewis’ Django featuring Jim along with guitarist Peter Bernstein, and Goodbye by Gordon Jenkins featuring Joe Lovano on clarinet and soprano saxophone. Jim recorded all three on 1998 Telarc CD called By Arrangement — but he seldom has an opportunity to perform them in concert, and as I mentioned earlier this week, there is an added dimension to live performances that cannot be captured on recordings. In addition to the ambiance of the concert hall, and the palpable collective concentration of the audience magnified on this occasion by the low volume/minimal amplification of the instruments, part of my fun is watching how much the string players enjoy playing this music. They seemed almost gleeful when playing the pizzicato sections in Django, and the smile on the face of violist Orlando Wells during his brief solo on October Song could have melted a glacier.