Jazz guitar master, Jim Hall, passed away in Greenwich Village, New York City, on Tuesday, December 10th. According to media sources, Mr. Hall passed away at home in his sleep after a brief illness. A jazz guitar giant, Mr. Hall, continued to work his amazing craft until the very end, with ongoing bookings, including at Lincoln Center’s The Allen Room on November 22nd and 23rd of this year, with Scott Colley and Lewis Nash.
In addition to his iconic position as a jazz guitar master, being awarded the prestigious Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004, Mr. Hall was also a noted jazz guitar lessons and educator, having taught guitar at the Lenox School of Jazz in 1959 and counting among the many guitarists who benefited from his private guitar tutelage such notables as Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Mick Goodrick, John Scofield, and John Abercrombie – many of whom Mr. Hall would collaborate with on albums and gigs.
Noted for the elegant, straightforward expression of his unique jazz guitar style, in a USA Today AP story, Mr. Hall is quoted as having said about his preferred playing approach: “What seems kind of frivolous and doesn’t really impress me is guys, people, women … who have amazing technique but everything sounds worked out,” Hall said in a 2003 interview for the National Endowment for the Arts. “They go through these chord changes with all these chops. Usually I wish I had the kind of technique to do that and then not do it, sort of. I like to make some kind of composition happen while I’m playing. That involves motive development. … I also love melodies. So I try to play melodies over tunes — have it go someplace and then come back.”
In the same USA Today AP story quoted above, Jane Hall, his wife of 48 years described her husband as “truly beloved by everybody who ever met him.”