Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announces the recipients of its Jazz Masters awards for 2004. One of them is Jim Hall, my favorite living jazz musician, whom I interviewed last week for a piece published in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s the lead:
In jazz, all fame is strictly relative. Jim Hall, the greatest living jazz guitarist, has been making records for close to a half-century. He’s worked with everybody from Sonny Rollins to Pat Metheny and played everywhere from the Village Vanguard to the White House. His colleagues view him with something approaching outright awe. But Mr. Hall, like most jazz musicians, is unknown to the public at large–a fact that doesn’t seem to bother him in the least. “It’s a privilege to be able to make a living playing jazz,” he says firmly. “Not too many people listen to me, but maybe I’d be nervous if I were a million-seller. I’d say, uh-oh, I did something wrong.”
Read the whole thing here.
If you’ve never heard Hall play, click here to purchase Jim Hall Live, the CD mentioned in the piece. Recently reissued by Verve, it’s one of his own favorites–and the first Jim Hall album I ever bought, a quarter-century ago. I still love it.