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Hemispheres

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Hall made his name as a straight-ahead jazz player who has made well-received forays into Third Wave classical-jazz fusion and the avantgarde, while Frisell made his name as a mainstay of the ECM Records stable while also making significant contributions to New York's forbidding downtown avantrock scene before moving deeper and deeper into a personal interpretation of country and Americana sounds.

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									Sound Recording Reviews                                                                     837

cided he wanted piano lessons so he could          with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Joey
learn how to play it himself. This disc is, in     Baron. The duets are a mix of freely impro-
a way, a culmination of the decision made          vised pieces, jazz standards and original
as a small child. It juxtaposes classic turn-of-   compositions, and they are all quite bril-
the-century works by Scott Joplin (“Solace,”       liant. Frisell’s “Throughout” is presented in
“Gladiolus Rag”) and James Scott (“Grace           a strange and glisteningly lovely arrange-
and Beauty”) with slightly later works             ment, while the Milt Jackson chestnut
by other American composers (Clarence              “Bag’s Groove” is given a stomping and
Woods, Robert Hampton, Joseph Lamb)                swinging interpretation that requires no
and contemporary rags written by Smart             rhythm section to make its muscularity fully
himself. A common mistake made by ama-             felt. There is also an interesting arrange-
teur pianists is to be seduced by the joyful       ment of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War.” This
syncopation of ragtime music into taking           disc’s longest and most impressive piece is
the pieces much too fast. Smart knows bet-         an improvisational piece titled “Migration,”
ter, and his interpretations of these lovely       on which Frisell uses delay and looping
confections are generally taken at caress-         strategies to create a multilayered bed over
ingly sedate tempos, even when (as on his          which Hall solos. The quartet session is
own “Two Flower Rag”) the listener might           more heavily weighted towards jazz stan-
occasionally wish that there were a bit less       dards and benefits greatly from drummer
rubato and fulsome sentimentality and a bit        Joey Baron’s unassailable taste—his under-
more rhythmic vigor. Those moments con-            stated but propulsive playing on “I’ll
trast very nicely, however, with his robustly      Remember April,” in particular, is thrilling
foursquare interpretations of pieces like          in large part due to its economy. The
the brilliant title track (a Lamb composi-         group improvisations are very fine, but it’s
tion), the impressionistic “Cataract Rag” by       the performances of classic tunes like “My
Robert Hampton, and Joplin’s restrained            Funny Valentine” and “In a Sentimental
but structurally impressive “Gladiolus Rag.”       Mood” that really stand out on this second
Smart’s witty and infor
								
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