Drummer Jake Hanna died last night in Los Angeles of complications from a blood disease. He was 78. Versatile across all jazz styles, in small groups and large Hanna swung with unremitting flexibility and power. He was the spark plug of big bands led by Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Harry James and worked with a score or more of small groups including Supersax and Toshiko Akiyoshi.
Here is Hanna in 1964 driving the Herman band in Bill Holman’s arrangement of “After You’ve Gone.” The video quality is a bit watery. The music is anything but.
In recent years, Hanna was in demand at jazz festivals and parties all over the US and abroad. To see and hear him jamming with trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, bassist Jeff Fuller, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, pianist John Bunch, cornetist Warren Vaché and tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, go here.
DevraDoWrite, aka Devra Hall, has a story about the time her father Jim played a trick on Hanna the trickster. To read it, go here.