I composed this piece in between students while teaching at Musician’s Institute on December 10, 2013. This was the day that Jim Hall died and the word was spreading on social media. I’d seen him play in Los Angeles probably a year or two before then and he sounded wonderful but it was clear that he was physically struggling to walk out to the
stage and get around. All to say, I was expecting it but not completely prepared emotionally for when it happened. I had an idea floating around with me for a while about putting rhythm changes in a minor key and seeing what would happen. There are a few twists harmonically but it is essentially a minor rhythm changes. On the bridge, the 1st inversion E major triad can be thought of as a substitute for G# half diminished, followed by G13sus which is a substitute for C#7, and so on. For years I left the title Dec 10 but it always felt like a placeholder. Upon revising the chart I titled it “Tumulus” as a tribute to Jim Hall’s lasting impact. Tumuli are mounds of raised earth often built over a tomb or burial.