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Jim Hall performs at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival. (Adam Kissick for NPR)

Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Guitarist Jim Hall

Dec 13, 2013 (Fresh Air)

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Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.

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Jazz guitarist, composer and arranger Jim Hall died in his sleep Tuesday; he was 83. Hall was known for a subtle, lyrical playing style, a gift for innovation and collaborations with a host of talented musicians in a career that stretched more than seven decades. Critic Andrew Gilbert called Hall "one of jazz's most respected improvisers, an artist who wields his guitar like a paintbrush, shaping and shading each note to achieve just the right hue and texture."

Hall played guitar as a teenager and received a degree in music theory in 1955. He was an original member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet, and his 1962 album with saxophonist Sonny Rollins, The Bridge, created a stir in the jazz world. Hall went on to play with many other artists, including Bill Evans, Paul Desmond and Ella Fitzgerald, and influenced a generation of jazz guitarists. In 2004, he earned a Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was still performing as recently as this summer. Here, we'll listen to a conversation Hall had with Fresh Air's Terry Gross near Christmastime in 1989.

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