Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Whitman County Gazette 

Wayne Bryant Hall

Feb. 16, 1926 – July 2, 2021


September 30, 2021

Jazzman, teacher and father, Wayne Bryant Hall, of Westminster, Calif., passed away at 95. He is survived by his children Kari (Todd) and Brian (Vivianne) and grandson Gregory.

Born near Steptoe to Robert and Mamie Hall, and raised in Oakesdale, he was the second youngest of eight children. Early memories included barn dances with his father playing fiddle, brother Dowey on guitar and sister Pearl on piano. At 14 years old, Wayne first heard New Orleans jazz on late night radio and taught himself to play trumpet, igniting a lifelong passion for jazz.

Wayne was the first in his family to attend college, earning his way by starting his own big band with his sister Janice singing. He earned a bachelor's degree from Washington State in instrumental music and business management.

In 1951 he boarded a Greyhound bus bound for the Big Apple in hopes of breaking into music publishing. He took his horn to all-night jam sessions, rubbing shoulders with Louis Armstrong, and made deliveries for a liquor store. When money ran out, Wayne returned to Eastern Washington where he earned a degree in education. A 1957 job fair led him to the LA area for a teaching job and a new music scene.

Soon Wayne married JoAnne Codd of Colfax and had two children, Kari and Brian. He taught elementary school and moonlighted by playing trumpet with jazz combos and Dixieland bands. He frequented LA jazz clubs, sometimes bringing along his young children and always carrying his trumpet just in case. A familiar face near the stage, he sat in with the likes of Big Joe Turner, Hollywood Fats, Lee Allen and Smokey Wilson.

A true believer in the power of music, Wayne volunteered for 25 years at Metropolitan State Hospital playing, singing and leading a band. He gave away countless trumpets to encourage any niece, nephew or distant relative who expressed an interest in playing.

His children have fond memories of a home filled with music, weekends at the beach, horseback riding, movies and annual summer road trips to Washington to visit family.

A cyclist into his 80s, Wayne maintained an unbridled excitement and wonder about the world, constantly reading and keeping up on the latest news and scientific breakthroughs. He continued to play trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, guitar, and sang with a warm baritone.

For Wayne's final public performance he sang "Time After Time" a cappella at his daughter Kari's wedding in January. He had just fulfilled her dream by walking her down the aisle to the rich notes of "Can't Help Falling in Love" played on soprano sax by son Brian.

Bravo, Daddy-o.


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