In 1976, Hal graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Though he opted for a career in music rather than writing professionally, he has put the degree to good use almost from the start. During the 1970s Hal wrote reviews and articles for the Jazzologist, (Kerrville, Texas) and wrote his first liner notes for George Buck’s Jazzology and GHB record labels. Next, he became a regular contributor to the Mississippi Rag (Minneapolis) and began to write liner notes for Bob Erdos’ Stomp Off label.
In the 1990s, Hal was a contributing writer for the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation’s Frisco Cricket and contributed liner notes for several CDs produced by the Foundation.
Since 1997, Hal has written numerous biographies of famous (and not-so-famous) jazz and swing musicians for the Jazz Rambler, published by America’s Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society.
Hal’s articles have also appeared in overseas publications, including the Bulletin of the Hot Club of France, and the British publication Just Jazz:
In 2019, Hal began writing for the Syncopated Times https://syncopatedtimes.com/. Here is an excerpt from Hal’s tribute to the great pianist Don Ewell:
Hal has also written biographies of jazz musicians who were active in the Bay Area during the Great Traditional Jazz Revival, plus articles concerning the Revival itself, Bay Area nightclubs and other subjects for the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection, as part of the Charles N. Huggins Project — hosted by the Stanford Libraries. https://exhibits.stanford.edu/sftjf/feature/the-great-jazz-revival