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1995 Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition first-place winner Darryl Hall achieves a soothing, sonorous and mystical debut CD of eight originals (and a solo cover of Oscar Pettiford's "Tricotism"). With melodic resonance, "Subtle Touch" displays versatility in solo, duo, trio and quartet settings.

Violinist Megumi Okura, Sam Newsome (soprano sax), pianist Jim Ridl and drummer Steve Hass realize Darryl's vision with swing and soul.
"In The Near" / "From The Source" / "Subtle Touch" / "Urban Folk Song" / "Eine Minute" / "Calm On The Prairie" / "One Of Us" / "Tricotism" / "From The Source"

What the critics say:

"The music originates almost exclusively from the pen of Hall and is filled with lyrical beauty...Newsome produces a mellow and sensitive tone on soprano that meshes with Ridl's piano style to yield an alluring mixture of flowing tones. Newsome and Ridl can kick the music into a higher gear, but it never loses its contemplative direction...Hall is agile and inventive in simultaneously expressing freedom and structure.
There is something about the combination of bass and violin that gives music a very appealing sound...Hall guides a stimulating course on this recording while varying the instrumentation in an alluring way. His music has much to offer." - Cadence

"Winner of the 1995 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition on bass, Hallís vision is one that is unlike that of many bassists in his style of composition, his choice of instrumentation and his role as a bassist. While heís certainly capable of--and in fact excels in--the expectation of the bassist as time-keeper and the propulsive foundation for a jazz group, Hall seems to prefer an investigation of cultures and an inviting appeal to the listener to consider the thoughts he presents.
Pianist Jim Ridl, who has performed numerous times with Hall and who can metamorphose into a musical tidal wave when the need arises, blends in with the overriding concept to sensitively accompany and enlarge the harmonic intentions of Hallís compositions...
Hall is accomplishing a melodic and evocative, albeit unconventional, tunesmithing, as violinist Megumi Okura states the theme in sonorous beauty without embellishment or vibrato.
The two Hall dedications on the album take quite different directions. His tribute to mentor and inspiration, Gerald Price, 'Subtle Touch,' features an emotional outpouring in arco as Ridl and Newsome subtly fill out the heartfelt remembrance of friendships past. Yet, Hall takes the opposite approach in his dedication to Oscar Pettiford, a pizzacato-ed and bass-slapping and loping frolic that sounds nothing like Pettifordís rendition with Lucky Thompson and yet that remains true to the good-natured temperament of the fraternity of jazz bassists.
Hall has chosen a road less taken, and for that reason succeeds as an original voice on the bass whose engaging style puts the listener at ease with assurance and grace." - Jazz News

"This smooth-flowing set goes down easily. Hall, who wrote eight of the nine numbers, uses the sweet sound of violinist Megumi Okura as an occasional lead and enlists soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome for a distinctly free-jazz - and sometimes mystical - cast...Hall also fashions a handsome memorial to the late pianist Gerald Price on the title track. Pianist Jim Ridl, a longtime collaborator with master guitarist Pat Martino, provides some creative counterpoint over Steve Hass' energetic drums.
'Subtle Touch' offers many sonorous moments and some unexpected beauty." - Philadelphia Inquirer

"...Hall is a thoughtful player who doesn't dominate or lean to flashy embellishment on this appropriately titled session. Rather, he creates tender solos and meticulous support, letting his colleagues shine on his winning originals that speak volumes...Hall shows warmly caressive spirit on the canorous 'Urban Folk Song,' and bops at his best on 'From the Source,' a vigorous quartet workout that yields space to Newsome, Ridl and Haas.
Hall's exceptional writing talents and the imagination he's applied to all aspects of the project, including talented, well-chosen teammates, make this an outstanding debut." - JazzTimes


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