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Guitar Great Jim Hall Dies at 83

Prolific, adventurous and greatly admired, Hall changed the role of the guitar in jazz

Jim Hall with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Jim Hall, Jazz For Obama concert, NYC, 9-12
Jim Hall at Newport Jazz Festival, August 2013
Jim Hall (l.) and Bill Evans

Jim Hall, one of the most influential, creative and admired guitarists in the history of jazz, died today, Dec. 10, according to several news sources. Hall had just turned 83 on Dec. 4. He died of heart failure in his Greenwich Village apartment after a short illness.

From the beginning of his career in the mid-1950s, the prolific Hall-as a leader and as collaborator with a wide range of artists-proved one of the least predictable, most exploratory guitarists in jazz. He is often credited with modernizing the role of the instrument and expanding its vocabulary, bringing a nearly orchestral depth to jazz guitar. His improvisational skills were unmatched, and although he was largely a minimalist who loved a strong melody, his solos were marked by a sophisticated experimentalism nonetheless. Hall also won praise for his compositional and arranging skills.

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