Jake Hanna, 1931-2010

Drummer Jake Hanna died last night in Los Angeles of complications from a bloodJake Hanna.jpg 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.

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  1. Freddie Jacobs says

    farewell Jake ! … looked like Sal Nestico ??
    the trumpet soloist didn’t recognize ??
    hope you’re swingin’ up in heaven
    (The tenor saxophonist was Sal Nistico, the trumpeter Billy Hunt –DR)

  2. Jon Foley says

    An excellent drummer, and a nice guy. I heard and met him at a rare gig of the “No Bass Hit” trio (Jake, Scott Hamilton, and the late, great Dave McKenna) on Cape Cod in about 1979. It was always a pleasure to hear his feature with them, “Drum Boogie.” He’ll be missed.

  3. ga says

    indeed with jake was sal nistico – i believe the trumpet soloist was paul fontaine ..
    one of the most drivingest drummers ever – had the pleasure of working with jake and always wanted to play this chart with him.

  4. Kenny Harris says

    Thanks for the (sad) news of Jake’s passing and the clips.
    I first met him forty years ago and we’d see each other occasionally. A wonderful drummer and funny gentleman.
    He sent me an inscribed photo of himself with Don Lamond – a treasure, two of my heroes.
    (Mr. Harris is a drummer and the author of First Call Drummer, a biography of Don Lamond. He lives on Bermuda. — DR)

  5. gary rynar says

    one of the true great players,, two of my favorite albums with jake,,, woody herman live basin street west & message from newport with maynard ferguson,,, a lesson in playing drums,,, one of the great ones,,, r i p…..neumo work