James Stanley Hall, 4 December 1930, Buffalo, New York, USA. While studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Hall made his first professional appearances playing guitar in local bands. In the mid-50s he settled on the west coast, where he continued his studies and also played with Chico Hamiltons quintet. In 1956 he became a member of Jimmy Giuffres trio, thereafter working with Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evans, Paul Desmond and in duo with Lee Konitz. In the early 60s he was briefly with Sonny Rollins, a stint which included two important albums, The Bridge and Whats New, then teamed up with Art Farmer to co-lead a small group. In the mid-60s his career was affected by personal problems; but he soon returned to tour internationally and to make records with Evans and in duo with Ron Carter, with whom he recorded Alone Together. In the early 70s, Hall was working again with Desmond, on Concierto, and in duo with Red Mitchell. In the early 80s he played once more with Carter, recording Telephone, performed with classical violinist Itzhak Perlman and recordedFirst Edition with George Shearing. Subsequently he worked with artists including Pat Metheny, Enrico Pieranunzi and Geoff Keezer in addition to maintaining a prolific solo work rate.
Throughout his career Hall has displayed a marked preference for working solo or in duos, and his playing is distinguished by self-effacing good taste and a clear understanding of the sensitive role demanded by partnerships such as those with Konitz, Rollins, Evans, Carter and Mitchell. Although less well known to audiences than many other guitarists of his generation, Halls outstanding improvisational gifts and his abilities as collaborator and composer contribute towards his status as a widely respected figure within the jazz world.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.