July 31, 2006
The great jazz pianist, Hank Jones, turns 88 today...a fitting number for a piano player. Hank was the older brother of renowned jazzmen Thad (trumpet) and Elvin (drums), both of who predeceased their less-famous, but no less talented, big brother.
Jones was born in Pontiac, Michigan, and came out of a Detroit jazz scene than within a few years spawned such other influential players as Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson and Pepper Adams. I heard Hank play on New Years Eve a few years ago, and he was still at the top of his game.
A few albums I recommend are Joe Lovano's recent Joyous Encounter, Live at Maybeck Recital Hall and Legends with Benny Carter. ( Of course, anything by his long-time working trio, The Great Jazz Trio (with Elvin on drums and Richard Davis on bass), is worth checking out.
He has a new album, Hank and Frank with Frank Wess, but I haven't heard it yet.
Posted by Glenn Dryfoos at July 31, 2006 7:56 PM
A little off topic, but last night I pulled out & listened to the Miles Davis Riverside sequence of L.P.'s (actual L.P.'s!!) "Cookin'", "Workin'", "Relaxin'", and "Smokin'".
It's amazing that they don't sound the least bit dated. At all.
Benny Carter: I saw him play outdoors once in NYC on Charlie Parker's birthday. He had to be in his late 80's / early 90's (this was around 1996). What got me was his beautiful tone (my previous tone-idol had been Jackie McClean!!). They had him play the gig because for a time he taught Charlie Parker. Recently I learned a lesson as to how much Carter influence Parker -- I've got a CD with a Jay McShann tune on it. There's a vigourous little alto solo on it, & I thought, from the tone, it might be Carter. Turned out to be very early, pre-bop Charlie Parker!!
Twn - In 1996, Carter would have been just about 90 (he was born in 1907). Benny was one of the few swing era players to view bebop as an advance in the music, rather than a threat. As a result, he even though he remained essentially a swing player for his entire career, he was equally at home playing with the seing titans (Hawkins, Eldridge, Webster, etc.) as he was with the bop masters (Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Phil Woods, Milt Jackson, etc.).
BTW: Miles Davis got his start in Benny's big band in the mid-40's and Benny's "When Lights Are Low" is a tune Miles played throughout his career.