"Falling Grace," a bittersweet Steve Swallow tune covered by Jim Hall and Pat Metheny, aptly describes the sound of these two musicians, who come off as natural-born duet partners on their eponymous debut.
Hall, 68, and Metheny, 44, arguably are the greatest jazz six-stringers of their respective generations, and this recording ought to thrill guitarheads as well as jazz hounds. The two seem most at home on the standards, diving into a lively cat-and-mouse game on "All the Things You Are" and tricking up "Summertime" with hard strumming and a modal feel. A series of five improvisations, interspersed throughout the disc's 17 tracks, add intriguing, experimental sonic sculptures. The most enchanting moments, though, are generated by their own compositions, including a lovely, flickering take on Metheny's "Farmer's Trust" and a treatment of Hall's "All Across the City" that brings out both of the pieces' melancholy. A perfect pair? Darn close.