May 18, 2010
Hank Jones, Versatile Jazz Pianist, Is Dead at 91 (PETER KEEPNEWS, 5/17/10, NY Times)
lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and also had a home in Hartwick, N.Y.
Mr. Jones spent much of his career in the background. For three and a half decades he was primarily a sideman, most notably with Ella Fitzgerald; for much of that time he also worked as a studio musician on radio and television.
His fellow musicians admired his imagination, his versatility and his distinctive style, which blended the urbanity and rhythmic drive of the Harlem stride pianists, the dexterity of Art Tatum and the harmonic daring of bebop. (The pianist, composer and conductor André Previn once called Mr. Jones his favorite pianist, “regardless of idiom.”)
But unlike his younger brothers Thad, who played trumpet with Count Basie and was later a co-leader of a celebrated big band, and Elvin, an influential drummer who formed a successful combo after six years with John Coltrane’s innovative quartet, Hank Jones seemed content for many years to keep a low profile. [...]
He kept busy after leaving Fitzgerald. Among other activities, he began an association with Benny Goodman that would last into the 1970s, and he was a member of the last group Goodman’s swing-era rival Artie Shaw led before retiring in 1954. But financial security beckoned, and in 1959 he became a staff musician at CBS. He also participated in a celebrated moment in presidential history when he accompanied Marilyn Monroe as she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, who was about to turn 45, during a Democratic Party fund-raiser at Madison Square Garden in May 1962.
-ARCHIVES: The Late Pianist Hank Jones On NPR (Patrick Jarenwattananon, 5/17/10, NPR)
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2010 2:41 PM