Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jim Hall | Memorable Quotes

This article is dedicated to the great Jim Hall who left us on December 10th, 2013, at the age of 83.

"If you removed all the limiting factors from music, it would sort of be like tennis without the net, court, and ball -- just two guys standing in a field with rackets."
jim hall
Jim Hall in 2010  (Pic Source: wikipedia)

"Many guys' solos sound the same. They play on the chord changes rather than improvise on the tune itself. The melody gives you just all that much more to play off."

"Lyrics can act as a source of ideas for improvising, too."

"Sometimes it's fun to do that -- play a cliche and maybe make something out of it -- but I try to keep the solo sounding like it was just invented."

"Players should force themselves to hear something and then play it, rather than just do whatever comes under the fingers."

"I try to make my playing sound as fresh as possible by not relying on set patterns. When I practice, I often tie off some of the strings with rubber bands to force myself to look at the fingerboard differently."

"I think that (classical) composers were much more daring and improvisational than their music indicates. People who go to classical concerts would probably run out of the room if the actual composers were there."

"Ornette Coleman's playing had all the good elements of music: time, humor, pathos, and a lot of technique. I've heard people say that he was into free jazz because he couldn't play on a 32-bar framework, but that's not true. I don't care if he can't play 'God Bless America'. I still enjoy his music."

"I guess I sound more reflective because I try to develop a solo compositionally."

"I don't really play fast -- speed has never come easy for me."

"I don't mean to knock bebop, but playing through chord changes one certain way can be a trap. Imitation can be carried too far. That's why you hear so many young sax players who sound like John Coltrane. I'm sure he didn't mean for that to happen."

"Many guys, including some well-known artists, play solos that are too long. They could have gotten it all said in 32 or 64 bars."

"A lot of times, I was the only white musician in a band, but usually I felt privileged to be there."

On the life of a jazz musician: "It does seem difficult at times. The travelling is hard. And I thought that drinking had something to do with being a musician, but when I decided to quit and went to AA meetings, I found the guys there felt the same thing about their jobs."

"The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though."

"I've been to hear friends at places that were so noisy I actually got angry. The owners seem more interested in selling drinks than in presenting the music well."

On effects devices: "I've started to use a chorus on a couple of tunes. Pat Metheny is really into that kind of stuff. I played a concert with him and he had so much electronic stuff, the stage looked like Mission Control."

"I got the Les Paul. It felt awfully cold, so about six months later I traded it for the ES175."

On 7-string guitars: "I have enough trouble dealing with the intricacies of the 6-string."

On reading music: "Being able to take music off of a piece of paper is important because that's how music is communicated; however, it isn't everything."

"Sometimes travelling makes me so tired I actually feel crazy. Slow practice usually helps if I have time to be alone with the guitar."

"If you pruned the tree of jazz guitar, Freddie Green would be the only person left."

"I think it's more important to look at paintings than to listen to the way somebody plays bebop lines."

"I have nothing but questions -- and that's the truth."

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