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Jim Hall

Jim Hall is an NEA Jazz Master

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.

His most recent large-scale composition was a concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned by Towson University in Maryland for The First World Guitar Congress®, which was debuted in June 2004 with the Baltimore Symphony. The title of the work, “Peace Movement,” is indicative of Jim’s desire to contribute to world peace through his music. He views music as a way of bonding people together and crossing barriers, be they barriers of geography, ideology, religion, or other discriminations. In accepting the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship award in January 2004, he said, “The women and men who have received this award in the past have spread peace and love throughout the world, something that governments might emulate. I am pleased to be one of the peacemakers.”

In addition to the recent focus on orchestral and choral composition, Jim remains active as a player, working and recording with a variety of ensembles all around the world. In addition to working with his trio, Jim likes to spice up the mix with various guests. From time to time you might hear Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, the New York Voices, Kenny Barron, Pat Metheny, Slide Hampton, and others, working for a night or two with Jim's groups. In fact, several of these guests can be heard on a live recording titled "Panorama.” On occasion, these alliances lead to more intensive collaborative projects such as the “Jim Hall & Basses” recording featuring Scott Colley, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, George Mraz, and Christian McBride, and the "duets" project with Pat Metheny.

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Mr. Hall has a technique equivalent to that of any classical guitar soloist and an electronics kit that could out-tech any rock 'n' roller, but his music is strictly jazz. — Will Friedwald, The New York Sun

...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

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Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Undercurrent

WaxTime In Color
2022

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More Jazz Guitar...

The Intense Media
2017

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Concierto

CTI Masterworks
2011

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