Edmond Hall (May 15, 1901 - February 11, 1967) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader.
Over his long career Hall worked extensively with many top performers as both a sideman and bandleader, and is perhaps best known for the 1941 chamber jazz song "Profoundly Blue" which is regarded as a classic of pre-WWII jazz.
Born in Reserve, Louisiana, about 40 miles west of New Orleans on the Mississippi River, Hall and his siblings were born into a musical family. His father Edward Blainey Hall and mother Caroline Duhe had eight children, Priscilla (1893), Moretta (1895), Viola (1897), Robert (1899), Edmond (1901), Clarence (1903), Edward (1905) and Herbert (1907).
His father Edward played the clarinet in the Onward Brass Band, respectively uncle Jules Duhe played trombone, uncle Lawrence Duhe the clarinet and uncle Edmond Duhe the guitar. The Hall brothers, Robert, Edmond and Herbert all became clarinetists, but before picking up the clarinet Edmond was taught guitar by his uncle Edmond Duhe. When Ed Hall finally picked up the clarinet, "He could play it within a week. He started Monday and played it Saturday." his brother Herb recalls in an interview with Manfred Selchow who wrote an extensive Edmond Hall Biography (A Bio-Discographical Scrapbook on Edmond Hall), 640 pages, Profoundly Blue in 1988.
Ed Hall worked as a farm-hand but by 1919 he had become tired of the hard work, and despite his parents' worries of finding a decent job as a musician, he left for New Orleans. The first New Orleans Band he played with was that of Bud Rousell (Bud Russell). He also played with Jack Carey (trombone) and blues cornetist Chris Kelley.
Begins career in music:
Hall's first big break came in late 1920, when he went to a dance at Economy Hall. The legendary Buddy Petit was playing. "When I got inside, it was a revelation", Hall said. Petit's clarinet player left the band just a few days later, and the following Saturday Ed Hall was sitting in with Petit's band as a replacement. In 1922 Ed Hall left Petit.
Arriving in Florida, Pensecola he joined Lee Collins' band. In 1923 he joined Mack Thomas' band, from there he went on to play with the "Pensacola Jazzers" where Hall met the young trumpeter Charles Williams better known as Cootie Williams. From there he went on to play with "Eagle Eye" Shields. Together with Cootie Williams he left Shields and joined Alonzo Ross' band the "Alonzo Ross DeLuxe Syncopators" in early 1927. In 1928 the band's pianist Arthur "Happy" Ford formed a new group and immediately hired Hall and Williams.
In New York:
In 1929 Hall went back to New York, where he joined Charlie Skeet's band, but soon changed yet again to play with Claude Hopkins. Under the leadership of Hopkins the band became enormously popular and in 1930 they got an offer to play at the Savoy Ballroom "The World's finest Ballroom", a big step for Hall. In late 1935 due to personal problems with the band leader, Hall left the Hopkins Band.
In 1936 he joined Billy Hicks' band, the "Sizzling Six". Hall who had been featured mainly on alto and baritone saxophone since 1922, finally had a place as a full-time clarinetist. Meanwhile his new sound on the clarinet had made a full circle and he began recording with the "big stars". On June 15, 1937, in New York, he had his first recording session with Billie Holiday. Among the band members was Lester Young on tenor saxophone.
Hall stayed with Hicks' band until early 1939, when no attractive jobs were in sight, he left and stepped into Café Society, joining Joe Sullivan's band in late 1937. While playing with Sullivan Hall had many recording dates with different bands and musicians in between the regular job at the Cafe Society with Sullivan.
Barney Josephson, the owner of Cafe Society Downtown and Cafe Society Uptown was very fond of Hall's playing and after Sullivan left to play solo piano at "Nick's", Hall became the "house clarinetist". Any band that would come in to play, had to get rid of their clarinetist, and take Hall or they would not get the job according to Barney Josephson the owner. In 1940 Henry "Red" Allen came to play at the Cafe Society. Hall became the band's clarinetist. Hall spent 9 years at the Cafe Society, playing and recording in between jobs with many of his contemporaries like Bud Freeman, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Henry "Red" Allen, J.C. Higginbotham, Art Tatum, Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Zutty Singleton, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Sid Catlett, Josh White, Ida Cox, Coleman Hawkins, Helen Ward, Vic Dickenson, Sidney de Paris, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie Heywood, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden. Wednesday, February 5, 1941, was a special day in Hall's career, for the first time he was the nominal leader of a recording session.
Edmond Hall joins Teddy Wilson:
Late in 1941 Hall left Allen, to join Teddy Wilson who also played at the Café Society. Around this time Hall's style changed. His admiration for Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, caused him to work on his technique, as he had always tried to improve technically. Hall did try the Boehm System Clarinet but that was short lived. He soon went back to his beloved Albert System, which he'd play until his death.
Many records under his name as band leader appeared during this period as Edmond Hall's Blue Note Jazzmen, Edmond Hall Sextet, The Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet, Edmond Hall's Star Quintet, Ed Hall and the Big City Jazzmen and Edmond Hall's Swingtet. The recording sessions always took place in between the work hours of the Café Society, including many of the musicians who performed there as well.
Hall had become very popular among the musicians and critics likewise and was frequently invited to the New York Town Hall Concerts led by Eddie Condon.
Edmond Hall becomes a leader:
In 1944 Teddy Wilson left and abandoned his popular and successful sextett, to form a trio (according to Wilson). Not wanting to give up their spot Hall and the other Wilson band members stayed at the Café Society. Barney Josephson the owner asked Hall to front a band of his own. At 43 and over 25 years in the music business he became a band leader July 1944. Hall's sextet was successful and became a draw at the Café Society. More recording dates followed for the famous Commodore Records and Blue Note labels.
While business at the Café Society was exceedingly good, Hall appeared at the Town Hall Concerts in between. Hall relocated with his band to the Café Society Uptown, where he was equally successful. The Hall band would also play for the service men of world war 2. Live broadcasts, of those sessions exist but have not yet been released on record.
In the 1945 Esquire magazine poll Hall was voted second best clarinet player, right behind his most admired clarinetist Benny Goodman.
In 1946 while still at the Uptown Café Society Hall and his band would appear at the WHN Gloom Dodger radio show, two days a week.
With Louis Armstrong at Carnegie Hall:
Early in 1947 Louis Armstrong's appearance at the famous New York Carnegie Hall was announced. Edmond Hall and his small combo were picked to accompany Armstrong during half of the program, which was to showcase Armstrong's musical career. The other half featured Armstrong and his big band. As a result of this concert Armstrong would abandon his Big Band and again start a small combo, The Louis Armstrong All Stars, of which Hall would become a member in 1955.
In the mid-1940s "Bop" had started to rival New Orleans Jazz, forcing Barney Josephson to bring in new people. In June 1947 Hall left Café Society.
September 1947 he joined the "All Star Stompers" with Wild Bill Davison, Ralph Sutton and Baby Dodds. Meanwhile business at the old Café Society was bad and Barney Josephson again called upon Edmond Hall to come back. Hall did so, with a new band of his own. Despite the efforts business at the Uptown Café Society worsened and Barney Josephson closed Uptown for good in December 1947.
Besides the Carnegie Hall recording with Armstrong, the studio recordings from September-December 1947 (mainly with Punch Miller and his band) were Hall's last until 1950. After Uptown was closed Hall took his men back to Downtown Café Society, however in June 1948 Hall's band was replaced with the Dave Martin Trio.
In the fall of 1948 Hall took a job at Boston's Savoy Cafe, playing with the members of Bob Wilber's band who had gone to tour Europe. During this time Hall accepted jobs outside of Boston and together with pianist George Wein promoted a concert they held on a day off. Steve Connolly of the Savoy Cafe asked Hall to bring his own band and replace Bob Wilber. Hall's band, the "Edmond Hall All Stars" began playing the Savoy on April 4, 1949. The band was hailed as "The best band Boston ever had".
Hall left the Savoy in early March 1950, to get back to New York. Playing clubs and festivals, including one job in San Francisco. Things changed again, when on August 3, 1950 Eddie Condon called Hall in San Francisco, asking him to join his band at Eddie Condon's club.
Hall stayed with Condon. Off and on playing other jobs as well, joined by mostly members from Condon's band. An example was the "Annual Steamboat Ball" in June 1951 and the frequent sessions for the "Dr.-Jazz" broadcasts during 1952. Condon's band was popular at the club and recorded many sessions, during Hall's engagement with Condon.
In November 1952 Hall participated in a special concert "Hot Versus Cool". New Orleans Jazz against Bop. The New Orleans musicians were: Jimmy McPartland, Vic Dickenson, Hall, Dick Cary, Jack Lesberg and George Wettling. On the opposite side there was Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Al McKibbon, Ray Abrams, Don Elliott - The record received a top rating of 5 stars in Down Beat. During 1954 Hall would play with many other musucians like Vic Dickenson, Ralph Sutton, Mel Powell, Jack Teagarden and Jimmy McPartland, and produce more recordings for labels like Storyville, Decca and Columbia.
Edmond Hall joins the All Stars:
At the end of 1955 Hall left Condon to appear as a guest musician on the Teddy Wilson show. From there he went on to meet with Louis Armstrong, to replace Barney Bigard. Joining Armstrong would prove to be one of the highlights in Hall's career. The Band left October 1955 for Europe, starting their 3-month tour in Sweden. A very successful tour for the All Stars.
The Band sold out every show in every country during their 3 months Europe tour, giving an extra matinee in Stockholm, Sweden in order to accommodate fans who could not get in to see the first show. Back in the US the band's success was praised, as Felix Blair of the New York Times wrote: "America's secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key. Right now its most effective ambassador is Louis Satchmo Armstrong." Creating the title for the "Ambassador Satch" album, which was released under Columbia. In February 1956 the combo made Los Angeles, California their home, to shoot the motion picture High Society starring Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby.
After a few concerts in the US the band had another engagement in Australia which again was a big success. The Australian "Quarterly Rag", Vol.1, No.4 July 1956 devoted an extended article to Hall. Another article from "Music Maker" (Sidney) May 1956 had this to say: "... as a soloist Hall was outstanding, he brought the house down with his slow, quiet "You Made Me Love You" and the encore "Sweet Georgia Brown" had the crowd yelling for more." The next concert overseas in Great Britain (May 1956) did not do as well, due to bad acoustics in the Empress Hall. However as before Hall was praised again in 3 articles (The Observer, Manchester Guardian and Jazz Journal) of his exceptional playing and named the only one who came through despite the bad acoustics. Directly from England The All Stars flew straight to Ghana, Africa for a first appearance. They were greeted at the airport by 13 bands, welcoming them with ALL FOR YOU, LOUIS (on Columbia CL 1077). Playing in front of 5000 people crowds in Europe before, this was the largest crowd Armstrong and his men had played for. 110000 people awaited them for their first concert.
July 14, 1956, the band played with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. The evening's grand finale was Bernstein conducting the stadium symphony orchestra in an Alfredo Antonini arrangement of "Saint Louis Blues" a nearly 12 minute rendition, changing between the All Stars and the orchestra. The event was held at Lewisohn Stadium in New York, which drew a crowd of 21000 people.
The event was partially filmed, as part of a documentary called Satchmo The Great. It was produced and narrated by Edward R. Murrow and contains many clips of the All Stars with Edmond Hall, while in Europe and Ghana.
The next day The All Stars appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, before leaving for the midwest to play the Ravina Festival at Highland Park with a crowd of 136816 people in attendance. The next concert was on August 1956, joining other famous musicians to play the Norman Granz Benefit at Hollywood Bowl. The concert hit a box office high of $32000. More tight scheduled concerts and one-nighters throughout the US followed. December 8, 1956 The All Stars entered Decca studios to record the album "Satchmo - A MUSICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY".
February 6, 1957 The All Stars kicked off another grueling tour with 60 stops throughout the US. While playing at a concert in Knoxville Tennessee ( February 26, 1957) someone threw a stick of dynamite over a fence, which exploded a few hundred yards away from the municipal building where the band played. Armstrong calmed the crowd by saying: "That's all right folks, it's just the phone." and the show went on.
October 27, 1957 The All Stars took off for South America, where they again were greeted by a large crowd of fans at the airport. Hall became a favorite of the fans and was invited to a recording session with a local band and became an honorary member of the "Hot Club De Buenos Aires."
More touring, one-nighters and another highlight the invitation to play at the Boston State house, where Armstrong was officially named the "Ambassador of good will."
Ed Hall leaves the All Stars:
Around June 25, 1958, Hall parted with the All Stars. He had grown tired of playing the same song set at each venue and of the stressful schedule Armstrong kept.
After leaving the All Stars he and his wife Winnie flew to California for a long vacation. During his vacation he practiced a lot, "trying to get Louis out of his system." After his vacation he met up with old friends, Ralph Sutton, Eddie Condon and Teddy Wilson, with whom he played August or September 1958 at the "Embers" in New York. More engagements followed with old friends like Henry "Red" Allen, and J.C. Higginbotham. Still highly regarded, Hall was asked to play in Canada as guest star, to play with two local bands, in Cairo and Toronto. The reviews of the concerts were full of praise calling Hall one of the Giants of Jazz. Back in Chicago he'd play a six-week engagement at the "JAZZ Ltd." Announced as "The Great and Incomparable Louis Armstrong Clarinetist."
After Chicago, in December 1958 Hall went back to the recording studio and recorded "Petit Fleur" with his own Sextet, including old friends from the cafe society as well as trombonist Vic Dickenson. More recordings followed one album even with strings.
Edmond Hall goes back to Ghana:
Having been impressed with the beauty, climate, friendly people and atmosphere, Hall decided to go back to Ghana. A place bare of racial discrimination, which Hall had been victim to in his own country many times. His goal was to settle there and open a music school. On March 7, 1959, Ed and his wife Winnie left New York for an "exploratory trip". Returning to the US on March 27, 1959, they had decided to settle in Ghana for good, coming fall.
Back in the US, Hall was invited to participate at the "South Sore Jazz Festival" in Milton, Massachusetts. He would play all the annual festivals until his death. On June 25 and 26 1959, Ed Hall went back to the recording studio to record "Rumpus on Rampart Street" under Edmond Hall and his orchestra.
October 1959 the Halls departed for Ghana. The Stay was short lived. What started enthusiastically ended up in disappointment. Hall was not able to get students to practice, their lack of discipline and quickly fading interest was reason for the project's failure. On December 17, 1959, the Halls arrived in England to spend the holidays with friends.
December 27, 1959 back in New York the Halls had to reorganize. The immigration to Ghana had cost Hall a spot at the big Germany tour he was supposed to be part of, led by Humphrey Lyttelton in January 1960. Playing weekend jobs and occasionally at Condon's, Hall went back to Toronto, Canada on February 15-20, 1960. The 2nd "Annual South Shore Jazz Festival" was on April 7, 1960, where he headlined the show.
May 28, 1960 Ed Hall was invited by the Czech government, to be featured as a guest star in Gustav Brom's band, to tour Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The three-month engagement was a success, with up to 15000 people in attendance and fans rushing backstage, demanding autographs. His spirits high again the "wounds" of Ghana healed.
Back in the US Hall laid off for a while but never declined to play at "Central Plaza", when invited. There he met Chris Barber, trombonist from England. A few days later Barber invited Hall to play and record a session with him and his band on November 7-8, 1960.
In Denmark and Germany:
Hall starts 1961 with a trip to Denmark, flying to Copenhagen on February 27, 1961. He joins "Papa Bue's Viking Jazz Band" as guest star. Hall and Papa Bue's band left to tour Germany for 5/6 days, playing at the Sportpalast in Berlin. On March 15, 1961 Edmond Hall arrives in Stuttgart for a radio broadcast - recording session. On March 16/17 1961 Hall went back to Denmark, playing with a group of young musicians, the "Cardinals" and other bands until his return to the US in early April.
After assembling a new band the "Hall-American-Jazz-Stars" he opened at the new "Condon's" in New York, where many prominent musicians and movie actors came to listen to Hall. Originally the engagement was for 4 weeks but due the band's success it went well into the summer of 1961.
Hall was supposed to join Papa Bue's Band to tour Germany, he even had signed the contract and despite knowing about his popularity in Germany, Hall ended up touring with Yves Montand through Canada and the US. Most likely that Montand offered Hall a salary he simply could not refuse. The tour lasted 5 months. During the tour Hall had time to participate in another recording session (February 1962), joining Leonard Gaskin's All Stars. After the tour he went back to record yet another session with the Marlowe Morris Quintet, before picking up at Condon's again. April 1961 Hall plays at the 'Fourth Annual Milton Jazz Concert" together with Doc Cheatham. Still at Condon's he left to play in Toronto. Where P.Scott of the Globe and mail wrote "He (Edmond Hall) will be 61 years old in two weeks and he is the most dynamic performer in Jazz today." - P. Scott in Globe and Mail 05/05/1962.
Back at Condon's Hall was invited to a recording session with "The Dukes of Dixiland". November 1962 Hall was back again in Europe to tour with Chris Barber, recording and touring England, Germany and Switzerland. The band would play to over 13000 people at their first 3 concerts in Germany where the tour started. Back home again Hall accepted occasional jobs, off and on showing up at Condon's. He assembled the Edmond Hall Quartet which opened up at Eddie Condon's on February 18, 1963. The engagement lasted until October 1963. The job at Condon's was only interrupted by short breaks for out of town jobs, featuring Hall as guest star at festivals as well as a few benefit concerts. The Hall band continued working well into 1964. April 26, 1963, the 5th "Annual Milton Jazz Concert" had Edmond Hall, his friend Vic Dickenson and Bobby Hackett as front-liners. September 14 & 15, 1963 Hall was invited to play at "Dick Gibson's Colorado Jazz Party". Hall was invited to all the following annual parties. Then Hall and his quartet played at "Conolly's Star Dust Room" in Roxbury Massachusetts throughout September 1963.
By 1964 Edmond Hall and his wife had settled from New York to Cambridge Massachusetts for good. The face of music had changed dramatically and the request for "hot" Jazz had diminished. The lack of jobs in the US made Hall think of another tour to Europe, contacting Gustav Brom with whom he had played in Czechoslovakia in 1960. Hall appeared, again with friend trombonist Vic Dickenson and Buck Clayton at "Dick Schmidt's Sixth Annual South Shore Jazz Concert". In July 1964 Hall was invited to play the "Newport Jazz Festival", for the opening night's "GREAT MOMENTS IN JAZZ", which featured a complete star line-up, with many of Hall's friends. The festival was a financial and musical success.
George Wein put together a package of different bands, Hall as featured star with the Dukes of Dixiland (Barrett Deems on drums) and started touring Japan from July 10-16, 1964. Back in New York, Ed Hall joins Jimmy McPartland's band for a few weeks, to play at "The Strollers". July 1964 Hall played at Carnegie Hall for "Salute to Eddie Condon". The concert drew over 1000 people and was hailed a success. A "reconstruction session" of the concert was held and televised on March 27, 1965. Hall continued to appear at Jazz festivals (often with friend Vic Dickenson). So he did at the second "Dick Gibson Colorado Jazz Party". A true friend of the Halls, surgeon Dr. O. A. Fulcher was at the party and got Hall a follow-up job of 4 weeks in Odessa, Texas, sparking what would become the "Odessa Jazz Party". There Hall played with old friend Ralph Sutton . The job lasted all winter, into March. The Seventh Annual South Shore Jazz Festival in Milton was on April 24, 1965, Featuring Hall and Wild Bill Davison who had been playing together many times. Hall played more of the recurring festivals as well as another concert in Toronto, Canada, which lasted from November 22 - December 19, 1965.
Winter 1965/66 Hall played the Monticello restaurant, which lasted 3-4 months. with some one-nighters in between. The job at the restaurant was proof of the diminishing popularity of Jazz, as Hall often played in front of a little to no audience. As the jobs got more rare Edmond Hall would even have played for as little as $50 just to play. But his wife did not let him unless the offer was at least $70-$75. By then Hall was semi retired and would show up unexpectedly at a nearby pub called "Bovi's Tavern", where a local band Tomasso & his Jewels of Dixiland would play, to join them. According to Tomasso they never knew when Hall would show up and Hall did that for a period of about six months, without any contract and for free, just to play. April 29, 1966, was the "Eight Annual South Shore Jazz Concert" with Hall and Doc Cheatham as the stars. June 1966 he played at the "Dummer Academy" as well as at a concert at Princeton University, which was partially recorded. Some smaller jobs followed, until the next "Annual Newport Jazz Festival" at the "Lewisohn Stadium", September 1966, followed by another "Gibson's Party" at the "Annual Jazz Festival" in Aspen, Colorado. Featuring many greats like Hall, Teddy Wilson, Bud Freeman, Cutty Cutshall a.o.
A big Break came on November 1966, when plans for a Europe tour were made. Hall was to play with Alan Elsdon's band during the tour, which started in England on November 2. 1966. November 21, 1966 Hall flew to Hamburg to meet up with the men of Papa Bue's Viking Jazzband, playing in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. After touring Sweden Hall went back to Denmark to record for the label Storyville at the Rosenberg Studo in Copenhagen. These recordings were the last studio recordings of Edmond Hall.
Hall was back home for Christmas. On January 1967 there was another important engagement the "John Hammonds 30th Anniversary Concert - Spirituals to Swing" at the grand Carnegie Hall in New York. Hall was invited as he belonged to a group called the "Cafe Society Band", which was featured at the concert. The next important concert was the "Second Annual Boston Globe Jazz Festival" on January 21, 1967.
February 3. 1967 Hall played at the "Governor Dummer Academy" with George Poor's band, together with Bobby Hackett as the featured stars. The concert was recorded and is available on CD as "Edmond Hall's last Concert". On February, Wednesday 12, 1967 at 11 A.M. Edmond Hall died. He had shoveled snow from the sidewalk in front of his house. Shortly after he got in his car, which later was found by the side of the road, he died of a heart attack. Edmond Hall was 65.
On April 1922 while playing in Buddy Petit's Band Ed Hall married a 17-year-old girl Octavia Stewart in Reserve. Hall was 20 and Octavia 17. The marriage was prompted by the imminent arrival of son Elton Edmond Hall, who was born on July 20, 1922, but died as a child on December 3. 1934.
On May 12, 1938, he married his second wife Winnie. Winnifred Henry came from Cambridge Massachusetts. Ed first met her while playing with the Hopkins Band 3 years earlier, at the Ruggles Hall in Boston. They had no children.
Ed Hall was constantly practicing his clarinet even on his days off.
Winnie sometimes was part of his travels. They had friends in England whom they visited frequently.
Throughout his career into the mid-1950s Hall, like so many, was confronted with race discrimination:
In 1951 while playing at Condon's a film crew came in and wanted Hall to play the background track but be replaced with Pee Wee Russell for the actual shooting. Hall refused and called his union. Condon and the other musicians supported him. Losing a large audience in the south, if displaying a black man in the band was the company's reasoning. They did make 2 versions but in the end the version with Hall was the only one released. Hall also recalled being talked to by police frequently, about the way he had parked his car, while others in the group were not bothered. He and his wife were refused a hotel room on a trip up the coast from New York to San Francisco in his Jaguar, forcing the Halls to spend the night in their car.
In 1952 Hall, Buzzy Drootin and Ralph Sutton appeared as the Ralph Sutton Trio in Saint Louis, where they played the "Encore Lounge" for several weeks. They were the first mixed trio there.
Ed Hall was known as a polite, gentle, reserved, modest man. Some describe him as kind, never judging any of the performances of his contemporaries. Hall composed around 38 songs from which his most important came in the 1940s while playing at the Society Cafe. The Halls lived a simple life but Edmond and his wife, had a passion for expensive and fast cars, the only luxury they would afford.
Ed Hall owned 3 Albert System Clarinets, one made in Germany, one made in America the third made in France. The latter was a gift from a retiring Philharmonic player and Hall's favorite clarinet.,
Hall's favorite drummer was Sidney (Big Sid) Catlett.,
Hall rated Buddy Petit's playing higher than Armstrong's. Petit was the first big break for Hall, who never made a record.,
Amongst fellow musicians Hall was rated to be the best dressed,
Hall did not drink alcohol, when playing at the "Storyville" the menu had different names for the beverages, referring to the different greats who played there: "Jelly Roll's Request" was a mix of imported rum, apple jack, simple syrup, "Louis Laugh" was cream, coffee, brandy, "Kid Ory's Kick" was brandy, curacao, anisette, "Edmond's Favorite" was lemonade.,
Hall loved expensive and fast cars, the only luxury in his live - he owned a Jaguar XK 120, a 1953 Jaguar Mark Vll, and a Mercedes 170,
Hall's other passion was shooting pool, even not being particularly good at it.,
Ed Hall would go on frequent walks "to get his exercise",
1957 Hall and the Armstrong All Stars played at the United States Penitentiary of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The band's fee was a free meal. The All Stars were the first band to provide free music for the inmates of a correctional institution. Other Artists would follow their example (Connie Francis, Count Basie, Mills Brothers, etc.),
During the film work on High Society, Hall's dentist had to visit and take care of two worn off crowns on Hall's front upper teeth.,
During the engagement in Czechoslovakia (1960) all the hotels were full and the musicians received lodging at an obscure hotel. However the office for foreigners offered Hall (as guest of the country) an apartment in an exclusive international hotel. Hall did not accept the offer and said: "I remain to live with my colleagues. What's good for them is also good for me.",
1945 Hall wins Esquire Magazine Silver Award for clarinet, second to his most admired clarinetist Benny Goodman,
1961 Hall received a certificate for nomination as one of the outstanding jazz artists of 1961 from Playboy Magazine,
1961 Hall was awarded as the best Clarinetist by the "English Melody Maker",
"For jazz clarinet give me Ed Hall - His feel for hot music is perfect!" - Benny Goodman
"As a soloist, Hall was outstanding. He brought the house down with his slow quiet "YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU" and the encore "SWEET GEORGIA BROWN" had the crowd yelling for more." - Music Maker (Sidney) May 1956 (wit Armstrong All Stars)
"Outstanding among the band members were pianist Billy Kyle and Clarinetist Edmond Hall. Hall a highly rated performer in the U.S., got through with his message with apparent ease, and rightly deserved his share of the applause." - Music Maker (Brisbaine) May 1956 (wit Armstrong All Stars)
"In the more musical portions of the program, which happens to be the segments devoted to jazz, the expected also occurred. Clarinetist Edmond Hall once more showed, with every note he blew, the best musicianship of any performer on stage." - The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/25/1958 (wit Armstrong All Stars)
"The show wasn't all Satchmo, clarinetist Edmond Hall, who nearly stole the whole shebang with skirling renditions of "SWEET GEORGIA BROWN" and "YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU." The Hartford Courant 04/26/58 (wit Armstrong All Stars) "Edmond Hall's return visit to Basin Street was an outstanding success. Playing with even more verve and excitement, This was the best clarinet we remember him play. Featuring numbers from his new album the fresh material made a pleasant change and Edmond Hall must be one of the hardest swinging musicians playing today." Coda March 1960
"He is a boy from my hometown, you know, and we have known each other for years. Been the best of friends and, you know, he is a fine clarinet man and I just want you to know that I am all for him. Edmond played with us so many years, may the Lord bless him, you know." LOUIS ARMSTRONG - Trumpet
"Edmond Hall Influenced a lot of clarinet players by his unique sound. Many people copied or tried to copy his sound, which is a great compliment. I met Edmond and his wife at a party Atco (records) gave me in their studio. They were a charming couple. Ed was a gentleman all around - and we got along very well." ACKER BILK - Clarinet
"Edmond Hall was a great clarinetist and a fine old southern style gentleman. I really enjoyed touring with him." CHRIS BARBER - Trombone
"Edmond Hall was an unbelievable player. I used to watch him, but I never heard him make a mistake. He was just a perfectionist. And he was wonderful, big hearted and a kind person and very, very much a gentleman. I remember once, I was building a house and I was talking to the guys in the band. about I had run out of money. And I said: "I have to go down more feet and I need more money!" And Edmond said: "How Much?" And he gave it to me. Condon's was the highlight of my life. At Condon's it was New Years every night. And it was a real pleasure to work there and to play with those guys. There was never a bad musician in that group. And Edmond Hall to me remains the best clarinet player I have ever heard." WILD BILL DAVISON - Cornet
"Ed Hall - YEAH! He was a great cat and a fine musician. Edmond and Trummy were the nicest guys. Ed is my man and I truly miss him." BARRETT DEEMS - Drums
"I never realized how great Edmond Hall really was until I got to work with him. Edmond was a giant on the clarinet. He was just a very nice and gentle man, never wanted trouble with people, never was really angry. I had a wonderful relationship with him." BUZZY DROOTIN - Drums
"His clarinet sounded like a human voice. What Louis Armstrong was for the trumpet was Edmond Hall on the clarinet. Could talk on his instrument." EDDIE DURHAM - Trombone
"I have to say I have played with many USA musicians visiting the UK, and Edmond Hall was the best and most enjoyable of all. A great man indeed." ALAN ELSDON - Trumpet
"The first time I met Edmond Hall was when he was with Teddy Wilson. That was a good band. But the first time I really worked with him was with Louis. In fact he was my room mate in Louis' band, and it was such a pleasure working with him, we had a lot of fun together. Edmond worked on that clarinet all the time. I remember Lake Tahoe rooming with him, he said: "Man, you better go now, I gotta practice now!" Yes, I got to know him very good from rooming with him. He never drank alcohol, never ate a lot. He told me: "I can't breathe after a big meal!" See the difference to me in Edmond and Barney is... Barney was beautiful and lyrical, Edmond punched, he popped it out, they were two of the greatest clarinetists, but their styles were different. Edmond had punch, the front line was always really poppin'. He would be among any top clarinet players in the world. He played SWEET GEORGIA BROWN and CLARINET MARMALADE and the one I loved most: DARDANELLA. It was a beautiful arrangement he did with Billy Kyle. Oh man, he really played that... he played the socks off that tune. We also made that record on MACK THE KNIFE and Edmond played a wonderful solo on that one. Ed Hall was a quiet person, very dignified. But you wouldn't believe he liked racing cars. He loved driving expensive, fast cars. This was his kind of relaxation. Edmond Hall to me was one of the most sensitive musicians, as far as people were concerned. He always worried about the underdog. I loved him for that. That is one thing I will always keep in my heart, how much he was for the underdog. TRUMMY YOUNG - Trombone
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license