Give the Drummer Some's
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For the past six decades, it seemed as though he was never not playing. Performing on over a thousand recordings—including more than five dozen as a leader—the vital, elegant pianist Hank Jones boasted a career that encompassed nearly the entire history of post-war jazz.
Widely influential and universally beloved, Jones died Sunday at the age of 91. Active until the very end, he was booked to play next week at the club Birdland and had tours of Europe and Japan scheduled for later in the summer. He will be dearly missed.
Proving that dumb ideas can lead to wonderful outcomes, producer Leonard Feather's ridiculous conceit for this 1958 session was to bring together Hank Jones with his musician brothers—Thad Jones (on trumpet) and Elvin Jones (on drums)—along with bass player Eddie Jones (no relation) to play compositions of Isham Jones (no relation). Four years later, Orrin Keepnews at Riverside would reunite the Jones Brothers for the brilliant record Elvin!
Ernestine Anderson ~ My Kinda Swing"
(Blog: Kelly's Lounge Soundz)
Behind Every Great Singer...
As an accompanist, Hank was most often associated with Ella Fitzgerald, but the roster of top-flight vocalists he supported is eye-popping. This sizzling date with Ernestine Anderson featured a studioful of geniuses, most notably Yusef Lateef, Clark Terry, Kenny Burrell and Art Davis.
Hank Jones ~ "Quartet, Quintet"
[Password = HJQQ19]
After spending more than a decade as a sideman on sessions and bandstands with the likes of Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and Billie Holiday, Jones, in the mid-'50s, began releasing records as a leader. This priceless Savoy disc from 1955 is one of his earliest.
Hank Jones & Abbey Lincoln ~ "Where There Is Love"
From the album: Time After Time (mp3)
Duo Unto Others
In 2007, 15 years after this album was recorded, Hank and Abbey found themselves unhappily reunited: They were simultaneously admitted to St. Luke's Hospital with heart ailments.
Hank Jones ~ "The Talented Touch"
(Blog: Musica Desde Antipodas)
The Perfect Touch
Ever self-effacing, Jones was chagrined by the boastful title, The Talented Touch, Capitol gave to this 1958 release. You can imagine Jones cringing when Max Gordon of the Village Vanguard coined his new group (with Miles Davis alumni Ron Carter and Tony Williams) "the Great Jazz Trio."
Dreams from His Father
From a 2009 interview: "My father was a devout Christian, and it’s true he thought jazz was evil, but he did support the taking of lessons. My mother and father were both supportive of the learning process. My father liked that I played piano in church. I had to be less open about playing jazz to my father, but Elvin and Thad were not so restricted as I, being the eldest, had already 'broken the ice,' if you will. I had a lot of respect for my father and so did my brothers."
Give the Drummer Some, Fridays on WFMU, 9 to Noon (ET).
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