Despite all his accomplishments as a musician, bandleader, writer, composer and saxophonist, Emile Hall Jr. is still hungry for more success. The current bandleader for Grammy Award-winner Irma Thomas, Hall is a high in-demand musician who is constantly making music both in New Orleans and around the globe. In addition to playing, Hall writes songs for many others and for his own projects, including his newest one, the Just Right Band, a compilation of fellow musicians and writers turning out original R&B, contemporary and jazz tunes. “It’s a two-year labor of love,” says Hall, who emphasizes that every single member of this band has put “all of their talent, expertise and a lot of time into this project.” Along with Hall, the Just Right Band consists of close friends and family members, most of whom have played EMILE HALL JR. Just Right for the Just Right Band in the same bands together. Each of the members also belong to several other bands but it is the love of simple music played without computers, filters or other sound-altering devices that bring the JRB together. “It seems like fewer bands are playing acoustically these days,” Hall says, adding that he enjoys the “old school” vocals and vibe the Just Right Band brings onstage. Hall also wants to see more varieties of New Orleans artists being represented and showcased and thinks the city does a disservice by only focusing on a select few types of music. “There is so much talent here and we need to make sure everyone has the chance to be heard,’’ he asserts. It seems that Hall has been hungry for success since he first took up the instrument back in the fourth grade. Though he thought he should be a drummer since he was always banging By Meaghan Clark on things, when the school band director came to his classroom asking who wanted to be in the band, Hall decided he would play saxophone, despite not really knowing what it was. “I took it home and showed it to my mom and told her I thought it had too many buttons. She told me I could either play it or eat it,” he says with a hearty laugh. Hall spent the early part of his childhood being raised in the French Quarter, an experience he says accounts for his love of rhythm and music. His family later moved out of the Quarter to the Treme section of the city, but Hall continued to play and listen to music throughout his schooling from Andrew Bell Junior High School to Dillard and McNeese universities. “The very first song I remember hearing down in the Quarter was ‘Big Chief,’” says Hall. It is just one of many 24 | BREAKTHRU MEDIA | breakthrumediamagazine.com S E P T E M B E R / O C TOB E R 2 0 1 7 PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILE HALL JR.
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