Jazz88 celebrates the birthday of Jim Hall, born this day in 1930 in Buffalo, New York. Hall was widely admired for his harmonic acumen, his understated guitar style and his distinctive compositional voice. While he admired guitar innovators like Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel, he was largely inspired by horn players like Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. After morving to Los Angeles in the mid-fifties, he played in Chico Hamilton’s groundbreaking quintet and with saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Jimmy Giuffre. After moving to New York in 1960, Hall made notable recordings with Art Farmer, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, and Paul Desmond.
Hall recorded his own music for several different labels from the 70’s until the last decade of his life in the 2000s. He wrote for a variety of instrumentations ranging from solo guitar to chamber groups with brass and strings. There was even an ambitious concerto composition for guitar and orchestra that was commissioned by Towson University for the World Guitar Congress.
Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Mick Goodrick, John Scofield, and John Abercrombie are just a few of the prominent guitarists who have acknowledged Hall’s influence on their playing. Hall accrued numerous prestigious honors for his work, including an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. He died just a week after his 83rd birthday in 2013.
Watch this video to get a taste of Hall’s guitar playing on “I‘m Getting Sentimental Over You.”
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