The multitude of condolences and shared stories attest to the fact that Jim was not only an inspiring musician but also a man with a huge heart. Sadly, his heart has stopped beating but his music endures and the treasured memories live on in all of us.
In keeping with Jim’s quiet and unassuming nature, his sendoff was attended only by the immediate family, but plans for a memorial concert will be announced.
Not only is Jim Hall one of the jazz world’s favorite guitarists, but he 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.
In 2004, he joined the Baltimore Symphony to debuted his concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned by Towson University in Maryland for The First World Guitar Congress®. The title of the work, “Peace Movement,” is indicative of Jim’s desire to contribute to world peace through his music. He viewed 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 January of 2006, the French Minister of Culture and Communication knighted him. In bestowing the medallion of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters), Kareen Rispal, Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of France said, ”We honor you, Jim Hall, for expanding the musical universe, for your innovations and contributions to musical expression. We salute your ongoing experimentation which has been known countless times to bring people around the world together.”
Selected obits, interviews, and audio/video clips:
NPR Morning Edition, Tom Cole’s piece: Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort of Guitar God
The New Yorker: The Quietly Revolutionary Guitar of Jim Hall
The New York Times obituary by Peter Keepnews
Los Angeles Times obituary by Don Heckman – Jim Hall dies at 83; guitarist influenced generations of jazz players
The Washington Post obituary by Matt Schudel – Jim Hall, quiet master of jazz guitar, dies at 83
The Associated Press obituary by Charles J Gans as run in Newsday – Jazz Guitar Master Jim Hall Dies at 83
Premiere Guitar, Remembering Jim Hall
NPR Music – Jim Hall: Guitar As Miniature Orchestra by Rez Abbasi
Documentary – Jim Hall: A Life In Progress
Library of Congress – Jazz Conversation with Jim Hall (interviewer Larry Appelbaum)
Jim Hall: Live, Now and Then by Bob Kenselaar for All About Jazz in July, 2013
This is the official web site for jazz guitarist Jim Hall. Also visit his ArtistShare website: JimHallMusic.com.