The Scottish based creative duo of Rob Hall & Chick Lyall has been developing its musical
language and identity since around 2003. Their music is informed by a very wide range of
genres from Baroque chamber music to free Jazz and folk idioms, connecting with the
broader European music tradition though often articulated with an American attitude. The
central thread through all their performance work is the intense musical dialogue that they
are able to build between them.
Though the duo is now performing internationally at festivals and a wide array of arts
venues, the formation of this musical relationship began rather more inconspicuously
through monthly gigs playing jazz standards at a rural hotel in the Scottish Borders. As active
members of the Scottish jazz scene the two had met previously playing as sidemen in other
groups and in each others bands. Quickly discovering a mutual empathy for classical music
as well as jazz, the duo begun to build a touring schedule which has included concerts of
chamber music, some in collaboration with Scottish cellist Robin Mason, and performances
of their own music in jazz venues, music clubs, festivals, arts centres and churches.
An enquiring interest in composition has been a driving force and the duo particularly
explores the ground between improvisation and composition. They can deliver pure
improvisations that sound composed and equally their own compositions are interpreted and
renewed through the use of improvisation. For both musicians the duo has become in recent
times their central creative vehicle and a true collaboration.
The duo has released three CD recordings to date for the FMR label with virtually unanimous
applause from the music press throughout. Having laid out their broad musical canvas with
The Beaten Path (2005), their second release Rhyme or Reason (2009), backed by the Scottish
Arts Council (now Creative Scotland), followed suit very strongly, incorporating both fully
improvised and fully composed material into the programme. Their 3rd recording Blithe Spirit
(2011), launched at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival with a linked concert in Atina, Italy, saw
the duo interacting with electronic backdrops alongside acoustic playing. Chronicles (2013)
represents a new direction for the duo with live electronics and bass clarinet incorporated
into the sonic fabric, with a true symbiosis of improvisation and composition.
Their music has been broadcast nationally on BBC Radio 3 and they have appeared several times on
BBC Radio Scotland both in live performance and interview.