“Pianistic brilliance... superlative and exquisitely tasteful throughout.”
-– Michael Point, Austin American-Statesman
“Musicianship that is unerringly thoughtful... a set of engaging interplay”
“For his second album as a leader, pianist Doug Hall has chosen to construct a program
around the concept of JiHi which, in Japanese, means to give happiness and to remove
suffering. The development of this theme is the thrust of this album. Hall and his quartet
take listeners through the process musically to reach the intended salubrious conscious state.
Each Hall-penned song apparently is contrived to represent one more step in the procedure
necessary to achieve this condition. The opener, "After the Fact," is a sprightly anticipation
of what it is like when JiHi is reached. It features jagged thrusts by Adam Kolker's sax coming
in on top of Hall's less-frantic piano, both of which are interrupted occasionally with sharp
drum breaks by Bruce Hall. Track two, "Dark Stream," addresses the metaphysical part of the
journey with a haunting melody. And so it goes until a blissful "Be From You," the last cut,
when the trip is reached and happiness, or the absence of suffering, is achieved. This state of
being is enshrined by the serenity of the playing, emphasized by the long, flowing lines coming
from Kolker's sax, with a pensive bass interlude by John Hebert. The album is characterized not
only by the inventiveness of the musical scheme, but by the interplay between the members of
the quartet, which at times becomes so intense that it feels eerie. To get the full benefits of
what the players are doing as well as the impact of the music, concentrated listening is required.
It's also required to catch and grasp the subtle relationship that is being built among the
participants. This is heady stuff and is recommended.
-– Dave Nathan, All Music Guide