[ This interview was originally published on July 16, 2013. ] Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential guitarists in modern jazz, Jim Hall has had an extraordinary musical career that spans more than half a century. His style is marked not by soaring speed or virtuoso technique but by his explorative artistry in improvisation, his solos' beautiful melodic and harmonic construction and his warm and rich tone. His discography includes more than three dozen recordings as a leader and an equal number as a sideman, including historic collaborations with Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Bill ...read more
Guitarist Jim Hall, now in his eighth decade, continues to be a vigorous performer, fresh-minded arranger and creative composer. He's been around so long, and done so much, that it's humbling to try writing something fresh about him: there is little to say that hasn't already been said, and in many cases quite eloquently. A Google search turns up a lengthy list of well-chosen adjectives: subtle, fluid, daring, poetic, empathetic, graceful, economical, experimental, intuitive, inquisitive. Many reviewers and writers have rhapsodized about Hall's rounded, dry-yet-warm tone, advanced harmonic sense, and exquisite use of space and silence.read more
Amongst the many CTI classics of the 1970s, few stand the test of time as well as guitarist Jim Hall's Concierto, an ambitious album that, in its original form, married one side of modern mainstream with a second taken up by a 19-minute version of Joaquin Rodrigo's 1939 piece for classical guitar and orchestra, Concierto de Aranjuez." That Miles Davis and Gil Evans had already delivered what was considered the definitive jazz adaptation on the trumpeter's 1960 classic, Sketches of Spain (Columbia), and that pianist Chick Corea had grabbed parts as the intro to his now-classic Spain," were clearly no ...read more
The art of the duo is nothing new to guitar legend Jim Hall. His one-on-one encounters with bassist Ron Carter have been wowing jazz fans for decades. More recent mano a mano musical encounters with equally sublime artists, like pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and guitarist Bill Frisell, have produced works that challenge but, ultimately, remain largely listenable. Conversations--Hall's studio encounter with drummer Joey Baron--ultimately, falls into the same general category. The fifteen tracks here are an odd, yet endearing, mishmash of musical material. The album opens with a sensational, and woefully short, take on Bag's Groove." A deep, ...read more
This article first appeared in November 1998. Questions were gathered from All About Jazz Bulletin Board members. From: Ken Brown Did you or do you now have a daily structure to your guitar practice? If so, how do you structure the different possible topics?
JH: My practice --since time is limited--is usually very specific (e.g. the pieces I'm currently performing), and includes speed improvement" and ear-stretching" stuff--whatever that means to you.
From: Ken Brown Do you have any tips for accompanying another instrument, like you did for Paul Desmond? Any common ...read more
There's good news and better news for the many fans of guitar great Jim Hall--counted among them a number of established guitarists who are, themselves, eminent. It would be hard to find a guitarist who doesn't look up to Hall and whose playing has not been influenced by him in some way. Players relish Hall's rich sound--the interesting melodic and harmonic ideas, the way he lets music breathe, the phrasing. The good news is that his most recent recording, the double CD Hemispheres came out in the latter part of 2008 on ArtistShare, teaming Hall with the amazing Bill Frisell.read more
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