Hall Overton, My Most Influential Teacher

The Center for Documentary Studies and the New York Public Library present a program devoted to the monumental, behind-the-scenes influence of pianist, arranger, composer, teacher, and Jazz Loft veteran Hall Overton. Featuring Steve Reich, composer; Joel Sachs, conductor and pianist; Carman Moore, composer, arranger, and conductor; Ethan Iverson, composer and pianist; Sam Stephenson, Director of the Jazz Loft Project.

“Hall Overton I had the pleasure of first meeting in 1969 as I auditioned for the Juilliard. Of course his knowledge of Jazz was amazing. During my audition he once sat down at the piano and played amazing two hand voicings and ask me at the age of eighteen what the chords’ names were. I was at that point aware of modern jazz but was a psychedelic Rock composer. I gave Hall exact answers to his questions and he was impressed with my ear and also wished I would join the 1969 freshman compostional majors. In the first fall semester he played with a Trio for a student party and I was fascinated with the groove of the group. He then asked me to play something and of course I accepted. I remember I played a tune of mine called “It’s Not the Same Without Old Joe.” Anyway I felt his openess to me was in such an enviroment like the Juilliard exeptional. Even though I placed to study with Roger Sessions, whom I admired, I was constantly in converstion with Hall.  After two years of rigorous counterpoint I asked Roger if I could change over to Hall. Roger was understanding and I asked Hall and he was very happy to continue with me. I was immediately in another world analyzing Bartok and Stravinsky and for the first time I truly finished a notated piece under his direction. With his incredible ability to clarify form I began to improvise with motivic development.” Paul Amrod

The Jazz Loft Project presents “Hall Overton: Out of the Shadows”