Hank Jones, 1918-2010

The parade outward continues.
Hank Jones died last night in a New York hospital following a brief illness. He was 91. For a thorough obituary, see this piece by Peter Keepnews in The New York Times.
The last times I heard Mr. Jones, at the 2008 Lionel Hampton festival, his elegance, celebrated evenness of touch and full command of the piano were undiminished:

The ranking master of the evening was pianist Hank Jones, playing beautifully in his 90th year. His two-piano duet partners, sixty-odd years younger, were Gerald Clayton and Taylor Eigsti. Each of the three also played a solo piece. John Clayton joined him on bass and Jones performed “Satin Doll” with notable vigor…

His vigor never subsided, nor did his sensitivity or ability to move an audience, as in this recent Tokyo appearance.

I recommend Howard Mandel’s Jazz Beyond Jazz posting about Mr. Jones. Go here.

Hank Jones, RIP
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  1. Terry Hoffman says

    I’ve listened to something by Hank every day for nearly two years! I was fortunate to see him play with Charlie Haden at the Montreal Jazz Festival two years ago, where the two masters were elegant, gracious and thoroughly engaging. For those seeking a good sample of Hank’s playing, his solo Live at Maybeck Hall album is wonderful.

  2. Rob D says

    Great player..he will be sadly missed along with his incredibly talented brothers Elvin and Thad.
    So many great moments created by this man. I was listening to his collaboration with Charlie Haden on a group of spirituals etc. called “Steal Away” It’s beautiful and touching.
    Also his recording (solo) “Live at Maybeck Recital Hall”
    Just two things he did over a super long career. God speed to a great pianist and by all accounts, a total gentleman.

  3. Jim Ardoin says

    What a wonderful pianist and more importantly a wonderful man. I’m sure I’ve listened to more Hank Jones than I’ll ever realize! I was fortunate to hear him live at the Blue Note in NY and feel honored to have had a wonderful conversation with him. What a gracious, warm, personable man. So much love for music and people and luckily we will always be able to hear him express that love through his many recordings.
    Thanks For the Memories Hank!!!

  4. Mel Narunsky says

    When I first began listening to modern jazz, around 1955, I noticed a good few albums that had as their rhythm section Hank Jones, Milt Hinton and Osie Johnson. In those days Hank was seldom seen as a front line pianist, but later, when he emerged as such, I became a staunch fan.
    I loved the recordings he made as part of The Great Jazz Trio, those he made with John Lewis and with Tommy Flanagan, and his solo piano albums.
    These recordings are a legacy that will live on for as long as there are people around who appreciate quality jazz.
    RIP, Hank Jones.

  5. says

    R.I.P. Hank Jones, the gentleman of bop piano. He belonged to the creme de la creme of the 88-keys masters. He had this fine, pearly touch, and although he was deeply steeped in the history of his instrument, he knew how to keep clichés and too obvious patterns off limits.
    Unlike his virtuosic contemporary Oscar Peterson, he wasn’t showing off with the doubtless brilliant technique he possessed too.
    No, Hank Jones was humble, and supportive; he concentrated on making *music*, not on making much noise. He perfectly executed Thelonious Monk’s advice: “Make the soloist sound great.” You can hear that on all the wonderful recordings where he was “only” the accompanist.
    Feel free to click on my name, and you can read a few other, more personal thoughts, and an over all eulogy of the grand old man.
    Here’s one other thing, I would like to share with you. Found it on Chris Kelsey’s blog. It’s just a famous video clip with … Ah, you’ll see and hear yourself: Who knew that?

  6. Peter Bergmann says

    Hank Jones was unique – taste, delicate touch, timing, lyricism – a pure gentleman.
    A great loss.