James Stanley Hall (December 4, 1930 – December 10, 2013) was an American jazz guitarist, composer and arranger. Premier Guitarmagazine stated that “It could be argued that the jazz guitar tree is rooted in four names: Django [Reinhardt], Charlie [Christian], Wes[Montgomery], and Jim [Hall]”.
Born in Buffalo, New York, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, Hall was from a musical family, his mother played the piano, his grandfather violin, and his uncle guitar. He began playing the guitar at age ten when his mother gave him an instrument as a Christmas present. At 13 he heard Charlie Christian play on a Benny Goodman record, which he calls his “spiritual awakening”. As a teenager in Cleveland, he performed professionally, and also took up the double bass. Hall’s major influences since childhood were tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. While he copied out solos by Charlie Christian, and later Barney Kessel, it was horn players from whom he took the lead.