Guitarist Jim Hall and special guests deliver an eclectic and pleasing mix of nine tunes on Panorama, recorded live at New York's famed jazz club, the Village Vanguard. For five evenings in early December of 1996, there was magic in the air at the venerable club.
Telarc's tapes were rolling for live sessions with the always innovative Hall and his collaboration with a powerful group of guest performers.
Hall prefers live sessions to studio recordings. "Recording in a studio is an unnatural act," he said. "Music involves communicating with live people, so having an audience is a big help. You can only react spontaneously one time."
The Vanguard sessions were taped with a different guest each night, and showcase Jim's exceptional abilities as a collaborative and continually inventive musician. In nine satisfying tracks, all tunes created by Jim (except for the third song, "The Answer is Yes," written by Jim's wife, Jane), he weaves his expressive and flexible style with such diverse performers as Slide Hampton, Art Farmer, Kenny Barron, Geoff Keezer and Greg Osby. Scott Colley and Terry Clarke on bass and drums provide the swinging support throughout the recording.
With the exception of Art Farmer, with whom Jim has had a long musical association, the guests were mostly musicians he had never played with before. He welcomed the challenge presented before him. "I wanted the experience of playing with all of these guys," he said. "I thought they would be inspiring, each in a different direction, and they were."