Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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JONES, Hank

(b 31 July 1918, Vicksburg MS; d 16 May 2010) Piano. The family soon moved to Pontiac MI near Detroit, where his brothers were born, trumpeter/arranger Thad and drummer Elvin Jones. Influenced by Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, he went to NYC '44 and was influenced by Bud Powell and Al Haig; he toured with JATP, accompanied Billy Eckstine, later Ella Fitzgerald ('48-53); worked with Benny Goodman '56-8 and was busy with freelancing and studio work. He was the first black musician to be under contract to a network, playing in the CBS house band until it was dissolved. As an accompanist or playing in a small group, he had the ability that the best keyboardists have of being able to help singers and other musicians to sound good. From about 1960 he began to become better known in his own right, and  said to have finally played on 1,000 albums. At the end of his long life he was one of the best-loved and highly regarded jazz musicians in the world, and the Jones brothers from Michigan were together again at last.

Already a valuable sideman, he made his own first recordings (solo and trio) '47-53 on Norman Granz's labels, then on Savoy: The Trio '55 included Kenny Clarke and Wendell Marshall; other tracks with Joe Wilder, Donald Byrd, Herbie Mann were on various albums called Hank Jones Quartet/Quintet, Night People, The Many Faces Of The Blues etc, all '55; there was a solo set Have You Met Hank Jones '56. Hank Jones Quartet '56 on Epic with drummer Osie Johnson (b 11 January 1923, Washington DC; d 10 February 1966, NYC), guitarist Barry Galbraith (b 18 December 1919, Pittsburgh) and Milt Hinton on bass: this quartet was a highly rated NYC rhythm section, in the early '60s often making three recording sessions a day. They also made The Talented Touch '58 on Capitol; Hank Jones Trio '58 on ABC without Galbraith had interpretations of rags by Scott Joplin. Songs from Porgy And Bess '60 on Capitol and Here's Love '63 on Argo had Elvin, Hinton, Kenny Burrell; an Impulse LP '66 had the Oliver Nelson band. Satin Doll '76 on Trio and Tiptoe Tapdance '77-8 on Galaxy were solo LPs; trio sets with bassists Eddie Gomez, Richard Davis, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, George Duvivier, drummers Alan Dawson, Jimmy Smith, Shelly Manne, Tony Williams etc on Japanese labels Trio, Interface, Progressive, East Wind, etc included Hanky Panky '75, Love For Sale and Arigato '76, The Great Jazz Trio At The Village Vanguard '77 (also on Inner City), Direct From L.A. '77, Milestones '78, Easy Love '79, Live In Japan '79, Chapter II '80, Re-Visited (at the Vanguard, two volumess) '80, Threesome '82, The Club New Yorker '83, Monk's Moods '84. I Remember You '77, Compassion '78 and Bluesette '79 were on French Black and Blue. Also Jones-Brown-Smith '76 on Concord Jazz; Bop Redux '77 and Groovin' High '78 on Muse; Just For Fun '77, Ain't Misbehavin' '78 (with guitar and reeds on one track) on Galaxy; Have You Met This Jones '77 on MPS/Pausa; The Trio '77 on Chiaroscuro with Bobby Rosengarden (b 23 April 1924, Elgin IL; d 27 February 2007, Sarasota FL) on drums, Hinton on bass; Kindness, Joy, Love And Happiness '77 on Inner City (also on East Wind), The Great Jazz Trio '80 on Phonogram. 'The Great Jazz Trio And Friends' at the Aurex Jazz Festival '81 included Gomez, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Nancy Wilson, drummer Buddy Williams. Piano duets with Tommy Flanagan were I'm All Smiles on Verve, Our Delights and More Delights '78 on Galaxy. On two volumes of Standard Collection '88 on Limetree 'the Great Jazz Trio' included Mads Vinding on bass, Billy Hart on drums; on Flowers For Lady Day '91 it is George Mraz and Roy Haynes on Evidence; Hank Jones Trio '91 on Storyville has Vinding and Al Foster; Favors '97 (Verve) finds him fronting both an Osaka big band and a trio. More on Concord Jazz included a solo Live At Maybeck, and Lazy Afternoon '89 with Ken Peplowski, Keith Copeland and Dave Holland.