I spent so many hours listening to his music on youtube and his records I bought. If you haven't checked him out go listen to the "Live 1975" album or his collaborations with Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond, Bill Frisell, and Bill Evans. You won't be disappointed, I can guarantee that.
It saddens me that I did not have the chance to see him live or tell him how much his playing changed me. But his legacy will live on through his recordings. His blue collared shirt with brown vest and red tie will never be forgotten.
My old guitar teacher Bobby Cairns always expressed how important Jim Hall was. Bobby studied with Jim briefly and told me how much melody and motivic development was stressed in their lessons. Bobby always stressed those concepts in my lessons with him. So I really owe a lot to Jim Hall in my own growth as a player.
Here is a great quote to sum up Jim Hall's playing in an article I read online
“I do, actually, whenever I’m teaching. I have these students with incredible chops. I try things to get them to slow down. Occasionally, I’ll have them just play on one string like a trombone, or play a mode with three or four notes and develop that through a whole solo, make them more aware of what Paul [Desmond] was aware of, how it becomes an art form and gets away from all that macho b.s.”
After a student improvised a passage overflowing with meaningless technique, Hall told him, “Don’t just do something. Sit there.” The bon mot circulated quickly and became celebrated in the jazz community.
Below is a video of Jim playing on one of my favourite songs "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You". Enjoy!!!
R.I.P. Jim Hall (1930-2013)