Jim Hall Day

December 4, 1930 – December 10, 2013

A birthday tribute to the influential guitarist

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Guitarist James Stanley Hall was born on December 4, 1930 in Buffalo, New York.

Hall attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and studied classical guitar with Vincente Gomez.

During 1955-65 he was a member of some of the most important jazz groups of the era: the Chico Hamilton Quintet (1955-56), the Jimmy Giuffre Three (1956-59), Ella Fitzgerald (1960-61), the Sonny Rollins Quartet (1961-62), and a quartet that he co-led with Art Farmer (1962-64).

Hall also recorded a series of albums with Paul Desmond and was on significant recordings with Teddy Charles, Bill Perkins, Hampton Hawes, Bob Brookmeyer, John Lewis, Mark Murphy, Bill Evans (the classic duet albums Undercurrent and Intermodulation), Sonny Stitt and even the Dukes Of Dixieland.

Mostly a leader after the mid-1960s, Hall’s harmonically advanced style, cool tone, quiet volume, and thoughtful approach made him an inspiration and an influence on such younger guitarists as Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield; he remained active until shortly before his death at age 83.

Here is a classic television show, Ralph Gleason’s Jazz Casual, featuring Hall on three songs with the Sonny Rollins Quartet in 1962.


1. The Bridge
2. God Bless The Child
3. If Ever I Would Leave You


Sonny Rollins, tenor-sax
Jim Hall, guitar
Bob Cranshaw, bass
Ben Riley, drums

-Scott Yanow


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