A harmonically advanced cool-toned and subtle guitarist, Jim Hall has been an inspiration to many guitarists, including some (such as Bill Frisell) who sound nothing like him. Hall attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and studied classical guitar in Los Angeles with Vincente Gomez.
He was an original member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet (1955-1956), and during 1956-1959 was with the Jimmy Giuffre Three. After touring with Ella Fitzgerald (1960-1961) and sometimes forming duos with Lee Konitz, Hall was with Sonny Rollins' dynamic quartet in 1961-1962, recording The Bridge.
He co-led a quartet with Art Farmer (1962-1964), recorded on an occasional basis with Paul Desmond during 1959-1965 (all of their quartet performances are collected on a Mosaic box set), and then became a New York studio musician. He has mostly been a leader ever since and, in addition to his own projects for World Pacific/Pacific Jazz, MPS, Milestone, CTI, Horizon, Artists House, Concord, Music Masters, and Telarc, Jim Hall recorded two classic duet albums with Bill Evans.
A self-titled collaboration with Pat Metheny followed in 1999. A flurry of studio albums, reissues, and compilations followed throughout the next few years, with the exceptional Jim Hall & Basses standing out for its bass/guitar duet format.