Hal Overton Day

Hall Franklin Overton (February 23, 1920 – November 24, 1972) was an American composer, jazz pianist and music teacher. He was born in Bangor, Michigan, the first of the three sons of Stanford and Ruth (Barnes) Overton. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After taking piano lessons as a youngster, Overton realized he’d have to travel beyond his small Midwestern town to find the kind of music instruction he wanted. His high school music teacher recognized Overton’s gift and recommended he attend The Chicago Musical College after graduation. Overton studied theory and composition there from 1940 to 1942. He then entered the armed services and served in overseas combat duty with the U.S. 3rd Armored Division until 1945. It was during his time in the service that he learned to play jazz.

On discharge from the army, Overton continued his musical studies at The Juilliard School of Music, studying composition with Vincent Persichetti. He graduated in 1951 with an M.S. degree, then became a member of the faculty there.

While Overton was writing classical compositions, he was also deeply immersed in jazz, and recorded with such jazz notables as Stan Getz, Duke Jordan, Jimmy Raney and Teddy Charles. Thelonious Monk selected him to score his piano works for orchestra; a performance of these compositions in New York City was recorded live on February 28, 1959 and released on the album The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall. In 1963, Monk recorded a second live album with orchestral arrangements by Overton at the New York Philharmonic Hall, released as Big Band and Quartet in Concert.

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