He was a
guitarist, arranger and composer born James Stanley Hall in Buffalo, New York, to a musical family. His family moved to Ohio while he was young and there he learnt
to play the guitar which was given to him as a Christmas present when he
was ten years old.
By the time he
was a teenager he had started to take an interest in the double bass and
was already giving professional performances in Ohio.
When he was 15
he entered the Cleveland Institute of Music where he too studies in bass,
piano and theory. He then moved
Angeles a year later where he studied classical guitar and from 1955 to
1956 performed as a member of Chico Hamilton’s quintet which is where
his name began to become known.
He became a
member of the Jimmy Giuffre Three where he could
incorporate some of his improvisations and arrangements and in 1959 he
became a teacher at the Lenox School of Jazz.
1959 he was sought after to work with many artists and ensembles including
Jazz at the Philharmonic, who he toured with. He had relocated to New York by 1960.
He was the
leader of a trio in 1965 with Ron Carter and Tommy Flanagan and they were
joined by Red Mitchell in 1965.
He also became a member of the house band for The Merv Griffin Show.
In 1975 he
released the album Jim Hall Live!
and also went into the studio to record with Itzhak Perlman and George
to work and perform throughout the 1980s and collaborated with Ron Carter
until 1985. In 1986 he was a
guest soloist with Wayne Shorter and Michel Petrucciani’s
1990s he carried on touring and recording on a national and international
basis and in
1990 he was a host for the JVC Jazz Festival in New York. He went on to perform in
concerts as a duo with Pat Metheny. In 1993 the
video Master Sessions with Jim Hall
was released, in 1994 he issued a solo album and in 1996 he led a quartet
As a composer
he was presented with the New York Jazz Critics Award for Best Jazz
Composer/Arranger in 1997 and he also won the Jazzpar
Prize in Denmark when his Quartet Plus Four was debuted there by the Zapolsi
String Quartet. He was commissioned by Towson University in Maryland for a concerto for guitar and orchestra
which was debuted by the Baltimore Symphony in 2004.
mid-2000s he joined the recording label ArtistShare
which is fan-funded and released the track “Magic Meeting” in
2005. Three years later in 2008
the label released the double album Hemispheres.
In 2010 he
recorded an album with Joey Baron and even when he was in his 80s he
continued to appear at national and international jazz festivals and
perform gigs in New York City.
career Jim worked with numerous artists and ensembles with just a few of
them including Nat Adderley, Chet Baker, Bob Brookmeyer, Steve Carryer
Trio, Buddy Collette, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, Herb Ellis, Chico
Hamilton, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Joe Henderson,
Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Lee Konitz, Jacob
Michael, Modest Jazz Trio, Cleo Laine, Oliver
Nelson, Anita O’Day, Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Toots
Thielemans and Big Joe Turner.
As you can
imagine, his recordings output is massive with nearly 40 albums which are
either solo or ones where he was the leader. Some of these are All Across the City, Alone Together, Big
Blues, Concierto, Jazz Guitar, Jim Hall’s
Three, Something Special, Subsequently and Textures. Other
albums which he has performed on include Jazz Goes to the Movies by Manny Albam,
More Songs from the Heart by Tony
Bennett, Singular Genius: The
Complete ABC Singles by Ray Charles, 1969: All-Star White House Tribute by Duke Ellington, Intermodulation
by Bill Evans, Interaction by Art
Farmer, Fiedler & Friends by
Arthur Fiedler, Ella in Berlin: Mack
the Knife by Ella Fitzgerald, The
Bossa Nova Albums by Stan Getz, The Hits of Joao Gilberto by Joao
Gilberto, Jazz Casual by Dizzy
Gillespie, Late Night Jazz Favorites by Herbie
Hancock, Woody’s Goodies
(1945-1947) by Woody Herman, Four
by Four by Billie Holliday, Summer
in the City by Quincy Jones, Music
of Bill Evans by the Kronos Quartet, Complete at Newport 1958 by Gerry
Mulligan, A Man and His Music by
Claus Ogerman, The Many Moods of Roy Orbison/The Big O
by Roy Orbison, After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!! by
Freda Payne, A Different Kind of
Blues; It’s a Breeze by Andre Previn, Piano, Strings and Bossa
Nova by Lalo Schifrin, Centennial Celebration by Art Tatum and The Very Best of Jazz by Sarah Vaughan.
2013 he passed away in his sleep at his home in Manhattan, New York.
He was 83 years old.