Jim Hall (musician)

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Jim Hall (2005)

James Stanley Hall (* 4. December 1930 in Buffalo , New York ; † 10. December 2013 in New York City ) was an American guitarist of modern jazz and composer . With his “concentrated, lyrical playing” beyond the block chords and “the clear, warm, so far probably most natural” sound on the electric guitar, “its importance for the development of the guitar in jazz is comparable to that of no other guitarist of his generation”.

Live and act

Hall learned to play the guitar privately; at age 13 he played in neighborhood bars in his hometown of Cleveland, took lessons from Fred Sharp, and eventually studied music at the Cleveland Institute of Music . After working in local bands, he left school and moved to Los Angeles in 1955 , where he studied classical guitar with Vincente Gómez and first played with Bob Hardaway and Ken Hanna before becoming known in the Chico Hamilton quintet , where he replaced Howard Roberts in 1955 . From 1956 to 1959 he then belonged to Jimmy Giuffre's trio , where the guitar was released from the rhythm function and the game focused on block chords and enjoyed extensive melodic freedom. He played with Giuffre in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival . Hall taught the summer courses at the Lenox School of Jazz from 1957 to 1959 . In 1959 he worked in Ben Webster's band .

Between 1960 and 1961 he was part of Ella Fitzgerald's backing band and also worked in Kleinformationen with Lee Konitz in New York . In 1962 he recorded the albums Undercurrent and Interplay with Bill Evans , two highly regarded records. In an interview, he described the collaboration with Evans as a “spiritual feast” and praised his ability to structure, especially in the omission of superfluous chords. In 1961/1962 he was a member of Sonny Rollins' group and worked on his albums What's New and The Bridge , before founding a trio with Tommy Flanagan and Percy Heath and a quartet with Art Farmer ( Live at the Half Note 1963). Recordings with Paul Desmond , Gerry Mulligan , Coleman Hawkins , Gunther Schuller and John Lewis also exist from this period .

In 1965 he led his own trio (with Red Mitchell and Colin Bailey ), but also had to work as a studio musician. In addition, he devoted himself increasingly to teaching at the Berklee College of Music . In 1972 he played with Ornette Coleman . Then he increasingly appeared in a duo with Ron Carter or Oscar Peterson . Hall made numerous solo appearances since the early 1980s. He also recorded with Itzhak Perlman , George Shearing ( First Edition , 1981) and Ron Carter (1982). At European festivals he appeared in a duo with Michel Petrucciani , who presented the album Power Of Three with Wayne Shorter . He also worked in a trio with Steve LaSpina and changing drummers such as Akira Tana .

Since 1999 he has played regularly in a duo with Pat Metheny . To his regular trio (with Scott Colley and Lewis Nash ) he occasionally brought guests like Joe Lovano , Greg Osby , Kenny Barron or Slide Hampton . In the Jim Hall & Basses project he played with Scott Colley, Charlie Haden , Dave Holland , George Mraz and Christian McBride . In 2008 he caused a sensation with a joint album with Bill Frisell (Hemispheres) . Recent recordings were made in 2010, when he and Greg Osby, Steve LaSpina and Joey Baron at Birdland (guest appearance at Live Birdland ). In the field of jazz, he was involved in 371 recording sessions between 1955 and 2010, according to Tom Lord .

Hall, who has contributed to the Third Stream since 1960 , only found the well-deserved recognition as a composer and arranger after the release of the albums Textures (1996) and By Arrangement (1998), underscored in 1997 by the New York Jazz Critics Circle Award . Recently, he has increasingly written large-format compositions, including Peace Movement , a concerto for guitar and symphony orchestra, which premiered at the First World Guitar Congress in June 2004 with the Baltimore Symphony.

Hall had a subtle approach to harmony and technology as well as a very gentle and thoughtful approach to the sound of his instrument. Stylistically, he orientated himself primarily on wind instruments such as Zoot Sims and singers, so that he cultivated a singing tone especially on the electric guitar. During his lifetime, important colleagues described him as the greatest living guitarist in jazz ; Guitarists like John McLaughlin , Larry Coryell , John Scofield and Pat Metheny refer to him as their role model.

Hall continued to be the author of many didactic works; Berklee College, Boston, named a scholarship fund after him.

In 1998 he received the highly endowed Jazzpar Prize . He lived in Greenwich Village with his wife, psychoanalyst Jane Hall . Hall died of heart failure in December 2013 at the age of 83.

Discographic notes

Jim Hall (2010)
  • Undercurrent (Blue Note, 1962) with Bill Evans
  • Alone Together , 1972, duo with Ron Carter
  • Concierto (CTI, 1975) with Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Sir Roland Hanna, Ron Carter, Steve Gadd
  • Jim Hall live! (Horizon, 1975) with Don Thompson , Terry Clarke
  • Live at the North Sea Festival (Challenge, 1979) with Bob Brookmeyer
  • Dedications & Inspirations (Telarc, 1993) solo
  • Textures (Telarc, 1996)
  • JAZZPAR Quartet + 4 (Storyville, 1998) with Chris Potter , Thomas Ovesen, Terry Clarke and the Zapolski String Quartet
  • Jim Hall & Pat Metheny (1999) (DE: Gold in Jazz Award)
  • Gland Slam: Live at the Regattabar (Telarc, 2000) with Joe Lovano, Lewis Nash
  • Jim Hall & Basses (Telarc, 2001) with Charlie Haden, George Mraz, Dave Holland


  • Jim Hall: Exploring Jazz Guitar . Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, 1990, ISBN 0-7935-0392-2 .
  • Jim Hall in an interview with Jim Ferguson & Arnie Berle, May 1983. In: Donn Menn (eds.): Secrets from the Masters . San Francisco, GPI Books, 1992.

Web links

Commons : Jim Hall  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary at JazzTimes
  2. Martin Kunzler : Jazz Lexicon. Volume 1: A – L (= rororo-Sachbuch. Vol. 16512). 2nd Edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-499-16512-0 .
  3. Wolf Kampmann (ed.), With the assistance of Ekkehard Jost : Reclams Jazzlexikon . Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-010528-5 , p. 219.
  4. Interview on his homepage under "Radio".
  5. Jazz Listings for Sept. 28-Oct. 4 2012 in The New York Times
  6. Tom Lord : The Jazz Discography (online, accessed November 27, 2019)
  7. His composition Piece for Guitar & Strings can be found on the record Jazz Abstractations published by John Lewis and is rated by Alan Kurtz as one of the highlights of the genre. See The Dozens: Twelve Essential 'Third Stream' Performances ( Memento of the original from October 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.jazz.com
  8. ^ Brian Priestley in the Jazz Rough Guide (Stuttgart 1999)
  9. jazztimes.com: Heart Failure
  10. ^ Gold / platinum database of the Federal Association of the Music Industry, accessed on June 23, 2016