Hank Jones

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Hank Jones (2005)

Henry "Hank" Jones (born July 31, 1918 in Vicksburg , Mississippi , † May 16, 2010 in New York City ) was an American jazz pianist.

Live and act

The son of a Baptist minister and eldest brother of Thad and Elvin Jones grew up in Pontiac , Michigan , where he received piano lessons. Since the age of thirteen, he has performed with regional bands in Michigan and Ohio. Here he fell on the saxophonist Lucky Thompson , who got him a job in 1944 in the band of Hot Lips Page in New York , which performed at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street . He also worked there with Charlie Parker , John Kirby , Howard McGhee , Buster Bailey , Coleman Hawkins , Andy Kirk and Billy Eckstine . His influences were the more traditional playing styles of the 1930s: the Stride Piano Fats Wallers and the playing of Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson ; nevertheless, in the years of upheaval between swing and bebop, he became a coveted sideman .

Dizzy Gillespie , Tadd Dameron , Hank Jones, Mary Lou Williams , circa June 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

After touring with Norman Granz ' Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1947 , he became the pianist of Ella Fitzgerald , with whom he worked until 1953. In 1950 he took part in Granz's music film Improvisation , a. a. as a companion to Lester Young and Charlie Parker. In the 1950s he worked with musicians such as Benny Goodman , Artie Shaw and His Gramercy Five , Milt Jackson and Cannonball Adderley . In 1956 he worked on Quincy Jones ' debut album This Is How I Feel About Jazz . From 1959 to 1976 he was a studio musician with Columbia Records . Jones has appeared on countless recordings for the Savoy label and other record companies, toured with Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, played with Cannonball Adderley as well as Lester Young, and was a member of the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra (Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra: All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Recordings at the Village Vanguard ). In May 1962 he accompanied Marilyn Monroe on her famous birthday serenade for John F. Kennedy ( Happy Birthday Mr President ) in Madison Square Garden. He also worked as a pianist on productions like the Ed Sullivan Show , where he accompanied stars like Frank Sinatra .

In 1966, Jones was the first pianist of the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, and he was also a member of the Great Jazz Trio , which over time had Ron Carter , Buster Williams , Eddie Gomez and David Wong as bassists and Tony Williams , Al Foster , Jimmy Cobb and Billy Kilson were among the drummers.

In the mid-1970s he became a freelance musician again and played in a trio with Ron Carter and Tony Williams . In 1978 he played in the band of Broadway - Musical -Show Is not Misbehavin ' ; He was the pianist and artistic director of the band, which performed six evenings a week and on Wednesdays and Sundays at afternoon performances. It was not until the age of sixty that he began a career as a soloist in the early 1980s.

Over the years he has made more than a thousand recordings as a sideman and band leader for practically every major jazz label in the USA. In 2009 the musician received a Grammy for his life's work. Hank Jones has given master classes at numerous US universities and at Osaka College.

Jones appeared regularly as a soloist in the hospice of Calvary Hospital until shortly before his death and was still on the program of the New York jazz club Birdland .

Prizes and awards

Jones was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1989. In 2004 he was recognized by the ASCAP as a "living jazz legend"; five years later he received a National Medal of Arts and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy .


In his obituary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung , Andrian Kreye praised the pianist as the “ideal companion. With his sure instinct for the arcs of tension of a soloist, he was able to ground jazz bands of all sizes with gentle harmonies or get them going with purposeful accents. "

Discography (selection)

  • Urbanity , 1947
  • Bluebird , 1955 ( Savoy Records )
  • Somethin 'Else , 1958
  • The Talented Touch , 1966
  • Hanky ​​Panky , 1975
  • Arigato , 1976
  • Solo piano , 1976
  • Bop Redux , 1977
  • Rockin 'in Rhythm , 1977
  • Just for Fun , 1977
  • Tiptoe Tapdance , 1977
  • Ain't Misbehavin ' , 1978
  • In Japan , 1979
  • Incredible Hank Jones Meets Louis Bellson & Ira Sullivan , 1979
  • Hank Jones- Red Mitchell Duo , 1987
  • Lazy Afternoon , 1989
  • The Oracle , 1989
  • Hank Jones Trio with Mads Vinding and Al Foster , 1991
  • Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 16 , 1991
  • A Handful of Keys: The Music of Thomas "Fats" Waller , 1992
  • Upon Reflection: The Music of Thad Jones with Elvin Jones
  • Steal Away - Spirituals, Hymns and Folk Songs , 1995 (with Charlie Haden )
  • Sarala , Gitanes 1995 (with Cheick Tidiane Seck and Mandikas he plays Arabic Mandinkamusik )
  • Master Class , 1997
  • Favors , 1997
  • I Remember You , 2002
  • Bluesette , 1979/2002
  • The Trio , 1977/2003
  • For My Father , 2005
  • Hank and Frank , 2006
  • Hank and Frank II , 2009 (with Frank Wess , Marion Cowings )
  • Come Sunday , 2010 (with Charlie Haden)


Web links

Commons : Hank Jones  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Kunzler: Jazz-Lexikon , p. 2738 (see JL , Volume 1, p. 638)
  2. ^ Andrian Kreye: The companion . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 19, 2010.