Born: December 4, 1930 | Died: December 10, 2013 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Jim Hall, born in Buffalo, and educated at the Cleveland Institute of Music, moved to Los Angeles where he began to attract national, and then international, attention in the late 1950s. By 1960 Jim had arrived in New York to work with Sonny Rollins and Art Farmer, among others. His live and recorded collaborations with Bill Evans, Paul Desmond, and Ron Carter, are legendary.
Not only is Jim Hall one of the jazz world's favorite guitarists, but he has also earned critical acclaim for his skills as a composer and arranger. The first formal recognition came in 1997, when Jim won the New York Jazz Critics Circle Award for Best Jazz Composer/Arranger. His pieces for string, brass, and vocal ensembles can be heard on his Textures and By Arrangement recordings. His original composition, Quartet Plus Four, a piece for jazz quartet augmented by the Zapolski string quartet, was debuted in Denmark during the concert and ceremony where he was awarded the coveted Jazzpar Prize, and later released on CD....
...Hall and his colleagues - bassist Scott Colley and drummer Lewis Nash - have developed a level of rapport second to none...The superb interplay made it hard to believe this music was being created on the spot, without the benefit of a written score... the three openly exchanged ideas in one poetic dialogue after another... — Chuck Obuchowski, The Hartford Courant
His intensely intimate music gets under your skin rather than grabbing you by the lapels....Mr. Hall has a sound as recognizable as the voice of a friend. His floating, fine-grained tone is smooth and edgeless, his wide-spaced harmonies subtly oblique. — Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal
Jim Hall is the reigning master of the jazz guitar. This poetic player says more with fewer notes than any living improviser. — The New Yorker
A master of understatement, Hall is one of jazz's most respected improvisers, an artist who wields his guitar like a paintbrush, shaping and shading each note to achieve just the right hue and texture. Modest and soft-spoken, he has inspired two generations of jazz musicians with his vast harmonic knowledge and restless musical curiosity. — Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
His work speaks as much to the human condiction as any artist past or present, and if one looks and listens attentively, there are great rewards to be found there. — Victor Magnani, All About Jazz
Mr. Hall's dry-toned guitar playing with its discrete, deliberate notes and sliding chords works like a bluesy telegraph signal. — Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
Since 1955, Hall, jazz' most lyrical and harmonically fertile guitarist, has jousted with top jazz stars like Ella Fitzgerald and Sonny Rollins. And his approach has shaped a younger generation of guitar heroes, from Metheny to Bill Frisell. — Gene Santoro, New York Daily News