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Canadian Heritage

Glen Hall


GLEN HALL (multiinstrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer) was born on August 7, 1950 in Winnipeg, Manitoba,. Canada. In his early teens, he began playing guitar and harmonica, forming a six-piece rock band, but began changing his instrumental preference to reeds when saxophonist Bob Mowbray introduced him to jazz recordings by Sonny Rollins, Rasaan Roland Kirk, and Archie Shepp, influences that still resonate in his playing today. After that, he began to delve into jazz more seriously, becoming a devotee of local guitar genius Lenny Breau whose trio members, drummer Reg Kellin and bassist Ron Halldorsen later became part of Hall’s own ensemble. He also took up the flute, the first of many new instruments on which he became proficient.

Post high school, he started studying toward a career in literature, but while completing his thesis, decided his music calling had to be followed, and applied to and was accepted by Berklee College of Music in Boston. He returned to Winnipeg to teach music and continue a ever-more-promising playing career before going to Germany to pursue further musical studies in 1976.

After recording his first album, The Book of the Heart (with pianist JoAnne Brackeen, drummer Billy Hart, bassist Cecil McBee) and releasing it on his own Sonora label, Hall traveled throughout Asia and the Middle East for several months, finally returning to Canada where he was married and moved to Toronto to become a key player on the jazz scene there. There he worked and recorded with the greats – drummers Claude Ranger and Terry Clarke, bassists Don Thompson and Dave Young, guitarists Ed Bickert and Rob Piltch, and many others – and was continuing an intensive four-year collaboration with jazz genius Bill Evans on an ambitious post-modern jazz album project until Evans’ death prevented its completion, at least in the manifestation the two had envisioned.

Glen Hall led his own Glen Hall Octet including Mike Malone on trumpet, Rob Piltch on guitar, Bernie Senensky on piano, bassist Don Thompson, and drummer Barry Elmes in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series on March 5, 1990.

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