The legendary guitarist Jim Hall died in early December.
He was a dear friend of mine. We wrote letters and postcards to each other from one side of Manhattan to another, Nolita to the West Village. I can't open my dresser drawer without seeing a stack of his letters there, without seeing his crazy, loopy, delicious handwriting. He was a faithful correspondent and he had that rare quality in his writing of always leaving you wanting more: more jokes, more interesting ideas, more turns of phrases.
On April 18, I played as part of his memorial concert at the Blue Note in NYC with Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, Scott Colley and Joey Barron. We played my tune "If Spring Comes Now."
I introduced the song with these thoughts:
"I'm not ready to be here tonight. I am not ready to sing this song. I am not ready to say goodbye to Jim.
Are we ever really ready for death?
I cannot remember if we said goodbye, Jim and I. I certainly wasn't ready for it to be our last goodbye.
I have the last letter Jim wrote to me; I have the first letter Jim wrote to me.
Jim's correspondence was the essence of him: full of humor, full of charm, witty, charismatic, curious, whimsical, effervescent. All done in a crazy, shaky, giant handwriting that was unmistakable from within the depths of my mailbox.
I have a letter I was writing to Jim in early December. I am not ready to send it yet.
There is still so much more I want to tell him."