Overshadowed throughout his life by his older brother, Edmond Hall, Herb Hall had a softer and smoother tone on the clarinet and was talented in his own right. The son of a clarinetist (Edward Hall) and one of five musical brothers, Herb started out playing banjo with the Niles Jazz Band during 1923-25 before switching to clarinet and alto. He played with Kid Augustin Victor's band in Baton Rouge in 1926 and in 1927 moved to New Orleans. After performing with Sidney Desvigne, Hall had a longterm association with Don Albert (1929-37 and 1938-40) including a relocation to San Antonio that lasted until 1945. Hall freelanced in Philadelphia (with Herman Autrey) and New York, was with Doc Cheatham in 1955 and toured Europe with Sammy Price (1955-56). The clarinetist frequently played at Jimmy Ryan's and Eddie Condon's club in New York during the next decade. He toured with Wild Bill Davison's Jazz Giants (1968-69), worked often with Don Ewell and in the 1970's was frequently part of Bob Greene's World of Jelly Roll Morton show. Always a reliable player, Herb Hall led an album apiece for Sackville (1969), Storyville (1970) and GHB (an 1980 set shared with Louis Cottrell).
Of the first generation of jazz clarinettists, he helped establish the Dixieland tradition beyond New Orleans.
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Herb Hall Biography
by Scott Yanow