Jazzmen Jim Hall, Joe Lovano setting up shop at Blues Alley

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

Legendary jazz guitarist Jim Hall is one of those rare talents who finds it hard to accept accolades. His comments are often, "Oh, that's so nice," or his latest from a recent interview, "Good stuff just seems to happen, and I've been really privileged to make a living at it." The privilege, in fact, will belong to the audiences at Blues Alley, who get to experience "Grand Slam: Jim Hall and Joe Lovano" during an eight-performance gig Thursday through Sunday.

Hall, along with some old buddies -- saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Lewis Nash and George Mraz on bass perform -- in a format based on a recording made by these veteran musicians at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., back in January 2000.

Craig Jolley, writing for the All About Jazz website noted, "Unlike many all-star groups, Grand Slam succeeds -- they are more than just a jam band. They play a repertoire [Hall and Lovano tunes] suited to this band. They sound rehearsed and they interact with each other. There is no sense of 'I'll coast while you do your thing and you get [out] of my way when I'm up.' "

Naturally, the work is that of seasoned professionals. Hall, who was educated at the Cleveland Institute of Music and began a serious career in New York in 1960, noted, "We haven't performed together as a quartet in quite a while. There'll be a lot of looseness, but the guys are all virtuosos, each one of them. We have a record called 'Grand Slam' that came out 10 years ago. We'll do [tunes] from there."

Onstage
Grand Slam: Jim Hall and Joe Lovano
» Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
» When: 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
» Info: $42.50; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com

Throughout his storied career, Hall has performed with the likes of Paul Desmond, Pat Metheny and Sonny Rollins. Lately he has been focusing on orchestral and choral compositions. He also still jams it up with various artists who find their way into the New York clubs where he plays.

Hall likens his gift to that of a painter, noting, "You slap colors on [a canvas] and try to make them work better -- sometimes you mess up, and then you recover. I've been really blessed with people I've gotten to play with."

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Marie Gullard

Special to The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner