Rene Hall

René Hall

René Hall (26 September 191211 February 1988), was an American guitarist and music arranger.

He was born in Morgan City, Louisiana, and first recorded as a banjo player with Joseph Robichaux in New Orleans in 1933. He then worked around the country as a member of the Ernie Fields Orchestra, before joining Earl Hines as musical arranger. During the 1940s, he built up a considerable reputation as a session musician in New York, and around 1949 he formed his own sextet, which recorded for the Jubilee, Decca and RCA labels. He also worked as a talent scout for King Records, discovering Billy Ward and the Dominoes, the group which included Clyde McPhatter.

In the mid-1950s he moved to Los Angeles and began doing session work for many West Coast labels, notably Specialty, Aladdin, and Rendezvous. His jazzy guitar style was suitable for rock and roll. He worked closely with sax player Plas Johnson and drummer Earl Palmer, and the trio can be heard together on hundreds of R&B and pop recordings. Hall was the featured guitarist on tracks like "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" (Larry Williams) and "La Bamba" (Ritchie Valens), as well as on recordings under his own name, or as the Rene Hall Orchestra for the Rendezvous Records label on "That's It" with rock-a-billy artist Babette Bain and on many instrumentals from the late 1950s and early 1960s including the hits by B. Bumble and the Stingers.

Hall also worked extensively with Sam Cooke throughout the latter’s career, and was responsible for the arrangements on some of Cooke’s best-known songs. For "A Change Is Gonna Come" in 1964, he devised a dramatic arrangement with a symphonic overture for strings, kettledrum and French horn, separate movements for each of the first three verses, a combination of strings and kettledrum for the bridge, and a concluding crescendo.

He also prepared arrangements for many Motown artists, such as The Impressions and Marvin Gaye, including "Let’s Get It On". In 1976 he provided arrangements for Cuba Gooding Sr and conducted the orchestra for Gooding Sr's record. He died in Los Angeles.

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