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Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Guitarist Jim Hall

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

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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