Call it a taste for opposites, but in taking note of the nearly simultaneous appearances by Jim Hall at the Village Vanguard and Cyrus Chestnut at Jazz Standard, it occurred to me that they might sound wonderful together—the former's tight asymmetrical phrases and careful timbres coursing through the latter's buoyant chords and gospel preachments. They play as they look: Hall is lean and deliberative, Chestnut rotund and effusive. Heard on their own, they underscored the breadth of contemporary mainstream jazz. They're both reliable club draws, with hard-earned yet largely undeserved reputations for middle-of-the-road easy listening. What I mean is, yes, they are readily enjoyed, but you do have to pay attention, and though that's true of any music worth your while, Hall and Chestnut—separated in age by more than 30 years—violate many of the very conventions they... More >>>