Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Barrie Lee Hall, Jr. (1949-2011)

I sent an email to Ellington trumpet virtuoso Barrie Lee Hall, Jr. in early September of last year in the hopes of talking with him about an Ellington related project (details to follow soon). I didn’t hear anything, so I re-sent the email at the beginning of this year. This time I received a reply and we set a time to talk. I was a little nervous about the impending talk since his emails were rather terse. After talking with him, I found I couldn’t have been more wrong; he was a very warm and open person in conversation. (What I took for reluctance was probably just someone who just didn’t like to type!)

Part of our talk was on the Super Bowl IX half-time show in the previous blog entry. I had sent him a link to the video the day before I spoke to him. His simple reply was:
“Man, that made me happy! Thank you!”

If you’re over 40, you remember the days where if you weren’t in front of a TV to watch a televised sports show, it was gone forever. The summer, of course, was for reruns of regular shows, but not of things like ’live’ events. Since Mr. Hall was an active participant in the half-time show, he had never seen it. (He’s the tall trumpet player in the back, second from the left.) He had forgotten that Grambling was there, but he vividly recalled that the Ellington band’s white dinner jackets provided little protection from the cold on the field.

He thought he would be in the LA area in the near future; he’d give me advance notice and we would meet up for dinner or something. That was on Saturday, January 8th. This morning, I was saddened to find out that he passed away at age 61 on Monday, January 24th.

RIP, Barrie Lee Hall and “Thank you!”

1 comment:

SAXOMAN said...

Sorry to hear you couldn't meet before he passed. Sad...sad.....too much history is being lost with these passings.