CD Review - Jazzwise Magazine - May 2010
Rob Hall & Chick Lyall - Rhyme or Reason ***
FMR CD281-0909 | Rob Hall (ts, ss, sopranino sax, cl) and Chick Lyall (p)

Let's begin with the obvious and oft-stated: jazz north of the border is in rude good health, as this second FMR collaboration from Scotland based duo Rob Hall and Chick Lyall demonstrates. This series of fluently intimate dialogues between piano and reeds takes up where the pair's first CD, The Beaten Path, left off. In terms of influences, the 13 original compositions move from jazz (the post bop of 'The Maze') to folk-traditional (breathe the immemorial Caledonian air on the lovely, gently jigging 'Rub of the Green') to, perhaps most imposingly, classical ('Elegy' and 'Scherzo' are movements from Hall's 'Sonata for Clarinet and Piano'). Strong throughout on atmosphere (the windingly hypnotic 'Pied Piper'), Lyall and Hall are careful to counterbalance the demands of composition and improvisation throughout, spontaneous thoughts constantly pulling predetermined structures in fresh, new directions to provide a winning demonstration of the duo's great empathy as performers (the stirringly shape-shifting 'Michaelmas' and the four freely improvised 'Variant' interludes). I'm looking forward to their third collaboration already.

Robert Shore
1st May 2010
Rob Hall & Chick Lyall
tel. 07973 145976