Jared Hall’s deliriously eclectic, powerfully swinging and melodically engaging debut Hallways marks more than simply the arrival of an exciting new presence on the trad jazz scene. It’s a testament to the value of music education and the importance of passing it on. From 2012 to 2015, the Pacific Northwest based trumpeter/composer accepted a teaching assistant position under the tutelage of Grammy winning trumpeter and bandleader Brian Lynch at the Frost School at the University of Miami, helping coach Lynch’s Afro-Caribbean artist ensemble and give trumpet lessons. Hallways is the first release in the Hollistic MusicWorks’ (HMW) Mentor Series, focusing on emerging artists personally mentored by Lynch.
Leading a dynamic quintet through an expansive set of freewheeling, rhythmically diverse originals, Hall does his mentor proud. Hall sets his intention for the project with honking trumpet lines over Martin Bejerano’s percussive piano vamp before creating soaring harmonies with tenor saxman Troy Roberts. The tune settles in to give Roberts and Hall ample solo time before reaching a bustling crescendo. Calling the contemplative title track “Hallways” was presumably done to give us a glimpse into the deeper emotions of the trumpeter’s rich palette. The dreamy, seductive tune – whose sense of introspection is later matched by the yearning feeling of “Meditations” - keeps the tempo low as Hall and bassist Josh Allen take moody solos before a nifty conclusion driven again by the harmonic convergence of Hall and Roberts.
As insightful as those tunes are, the real joy of the project comes from the exuberant swing that drives pieces like the perfectly titled “Love, Laugh and Cry” and “Tones for Jones,” a brisk romp that finds the quintet trading explosive solos while drummer Kyle Swan propels them with his wild polyrhythmic energy. Hall uses another spirited, dual horn fired excursion (“Brother Spiro”) to pay homage to Michael Spiro, with whom he studied while finishing his master’s in jazz studies as an Assistant Instructor at Indiana University.