Jul 31, 2018
One of the most influential – and yet to my mind, underrated – jazz pianists of our time would have been 100 years old today. Hank Jones is constantly named by some of our finest jazz musicians as a key influence, and today in honor of the Centennial of his birth, you get an hour plus of his music.
One of seven children, Jones was raised in a musical family. His mother Olivia Jones sang; his two older sisters studied piano; and his two younger brothers—Thad, a trumpeter, and Elvin, a drummer—have both earned their place in the jazz pantheon.
A fixture on the New York scene by 1944, Jones honed his craft in the bands of Lucky Thompson, Coleman Hawkins, Billy Eckstine and John Kirby. In autumn 1947, he began touring in Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic package, and from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald.
Jones recorded more than 60 albums under his own name, and countless others as a sideman, including Cannonball Adderley 's Something Else with Miles Davis. On May 19, 1962, he played piano as actress Marilyn Monroe sang her famous "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" song to president John F. Kennedy.
The 1970’s found him creating the Great Jazz Trio, originally with Davis alumni Ron Carter and Tony Williams, then later with Buster Williams and Eddie Gomez replacing Carter, and Al Foster, and Jimmy Cobb replacing Williams.
I could go on and on, but it’s far better to listen to Hank Jones than talk about him. Podcast 630 features Hank as leader, accompanist and sideman, solo and in groups. Enjoy:
The Great Jazz Trio - "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together"
Hank Jones & Frank Wess - "Hankerin'"
Cannonball Adderley - "Bangoon"
Hank Jones, Christian McBride & Jimmy Cobb - "Stella by Starlight"
Hank Jones - "Blues in My Heart"
Hank Jones - Sophisticated Lady"
Joe Lovano - "Bird's Eye View"
The Great Jazz Trio - "Long Ago and Far Away"
Charlie Parker - "The Song is You"
Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Jones, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich - "I'm Just a Lucky So and So"
The Great Jazz Trio - "Wind Flower"
Hank Jones and Charlie Haden - "Give Me That Old Time Religion"