Desert Island Jazz
Hank Jones (2002)

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Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Henry "Hank" Jones moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where his father, a Baptist deacon and lumber inspector, bought a three-story brick home. One of seven children, Jones was raised in a musical family. His mother sang; his two older sisters studied piano; and his two younger brothersóThad, a trumpeter, and Elvin, a drummeróalso became world famous jazz musicians. He studied piano at an early age and came under the influence of Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. By the age of 13 Jones was performing locally in Michigan and Ohio. While playing with territory bands in Grand Rapids and Lansing in 1944 he met Lucky Thompson, who invited Jones to work in New York City at the Onyx Club with Hot Lips Page.

In New York, Jones regularly listened to leading bop musicians, and was inspired to master the new style. While practicing and studying the music he worked with John Kirby, Howard McGhee, Coleman Hawkins, Andy Kirk, and Billy Eckstine. In autumn 1947 he began touring in Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic package, and from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, and accompanying her in England in the Fall of 1948,[6] developed a harmonic facility of extraordinary taste and sophistication. During this period he also made several historically important recordings with Charlie Parker, which included "The Song Is You", from the Now's the Time album, recorded December 1952, with Teddy Kotick on bass and Max Roach on drums.

Engagements with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman followed, and recordings with such artists as Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley and Wes Montgomery, as well as being for a time, 'house pianist' on the Savoy label. From 1959 through 1975 Jones was staff pianist for CBS studios. This included backing such guests as Frank Sinatra on The Ed Sullivan Show. With his rare combination of talents as a strong soloist, sensitive accompanist, and adept sight-reader, Jones has always been in great demand for recording sessions of all kinds, and may be heard on thousands of albums. By the late 1970s his involvement as pianist and conductor with the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin' (based on the music of Fats Waller) had informed a wider audience of his unique qualities as a musician.

During the late 1970s and the 1980s Jones continued to record prolifically, as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianists (including John Lewis and Tommy Flanagan), and with various small ensembles, most notably the Great Jazz Trio. The group took this name in 1976, by which time Jones had already begun working at the Village Vanguard with its original members, Ron Carter and Tony Williams (it was Buster Williams rather than Carter, however, who took part in the trio's first recording session in 1976); by 1980 Jones' sidemen were Eddie Gomez and Al Foster, and in 1982 Jimmy Cobb replaced Foster. The trio has also recorded with other all-star personnel, such as Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Nancy Wilson. In the early 1980s Jones held a residency as a solo pianist at the Cafe Ziegfeld and made a tour of Japan, where he performed and recorded with George Duvivier and Sonny Stitt. Jones' versatility has been more in evidence with the passage of time. He collaborated on recordings of Afro-pop with an ensemble from Mali and on an album of spirituals, hymns and folksongs with Charlie Haden called Steal Away (1995).

Some of his recent recordings are For My Father (2005) with bassist George Mraz and drummer Dennis Mackrel, a solo piano recording issued in Japan under the title Round Midnight (2006), and as a side man on Joe Lovano's Joyous Encounter (2005). Jones has recently made his debut on Lineage records, recording with Frank Wess and with guitar player Eddie Diehl, but also appears on West of 5th (2006) with Jimmy Cobb and Christian McBride on Chesky Records. He has also accompanied Diana Krall for "Dream a Little Dream of Me" on the album compilation, "We all Love Ella" (2007 Verve Music Group). He's one of the musicians who test and talk about the piano in the documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, released in November 2007.

Early 2000 saw the Hank Jones Quartet accompanying jazz singer Salena Jones at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, and in 2006 at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival with both jazz singer Roberta Gambarini and the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Hank Jones lives in upstate New York.


In New York, Jones regularly listened to leading bop musicians, and was inspired to master the new style. While practicing and studying the music he worked with John Kirby, Howard McGhee, Coleman Hawkins, Andy Kirk, and Billy Eckstine. In autumn 1947 he began touring in Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic package, and from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, and accompanying her in England in the Fall of 1948,[6] developed a harmonic facility of extraordinary taste and sophistication. During this period he also made several historically important recordings with Charlie Parker, which included "The Song Is You", from the Now's the Time album, recorded December 1952, with Teddy Kotick on bass and Max Roach on drums.

Engagements with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman followed, and recordings with such artists as Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley and Wes Montgomery, as well as being for a time, 'house pianist' on the Savoy label. From 1959 through 1975 Jones was staff pianist for CBS studios. This included backing such guests as Frank Sinatra on The Ed Sullivan Show.[7] With his rare combination of talents as a strong soloist, sensitive accompanist, and adept sight-reader, Jones has always been in great demand for recording sessions of all kinds, and may be heard on thousands of albums. By the late 1970s his involvement as pianist and conductor with the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin' (based on the music of Fats Waller) had informed a wider audience of his unique qualities as a musician.

During the late 1970s and the 1980s Jones continued to record prolifically, as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianists (including John Lewis and Tommy Flanagan), and with various small ensembles, most notably the Great Jazz Trio. The group took this name in 1976, by which time Jones had already begun working at the Village Vanguard with its original members, Ron Carter and Tony Williams (it was Buster Williams rather than Carter, however, who took part in the trio's first recording session in 1976); by 1980 Jones' sidemen were Eddie Gomez and Al Foster, and in 1982 Jimmy Cobb replaced Foster. The trio has also recorded with other all-star personnel, such as Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Nancy Wilson. In the early 1980s Jones held a residency as a solo pianist at the Cafe Ziegfeld and made a tour of Japan, where he performed and recorded with George Duvivier and Sonny Stitt. Jones' versatility has been more in evidence with the passage of time. He collaborated on recordings of Afro-pop with an ensemble from Mali and on an album of spirituals, hymns and folksongs with Charlie Haden called Steal Away (1995).

Some of his recent recordings are For My Father (2005) with bassist George Mraz and drummer Dennis Mackrel, a solo piano recording issued in Japan under the title Round Midnight (2006), and as a side man on Joe Lovano's Joyous Encounter (2005). Jones has recently made his debut on Lineage records, recording with Frank Wess and with guitar player Eddie Diehl, but also appears on West of 5th (2006) with Jimmy Cobb and Christian McBride on Chesky Records. He has also accompanied Diana Krall for "Dream a Little Dream of Me" on the album compilation, "We all Love Ella" (2007 Verve Music Group). He's one of the musicians who test and talk about the piano in the documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, released in November 2007.

Early 2000 saw the Hank Jones Quartet accompanying jazz singer Salena Jones at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, and in 2006 at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival with both jazz singer Roberta Gambarini and the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Hank Jones lives in upstate New York.

Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Thelonious Monk Monk Alone Body and Soul 'Round Midnight (Columbia)
# 2 Art Tatum Complete Pablo Group Masterpieces What Is This Thing Called Love? (Pablo)
# 3 Benny Goodman accompanied by Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa Original Benny Goodman Trio and Quartet Sessions, Vol. 1: After You've Gone Who? (Bluebird)
# 4 Duke Ellington Reminiscing in Tempo Sophisticated Lady (Columbia)
# 5 Willie "The Lion" Smith N/A Honeysuckle Rose N/A
# 6 Ella Fitzgerald The Ultimate Ella Fitzgerald Robbins' Nest (Verve)
# 7 Dinah Washington The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury, Vol. 5 Teach Me Tonight (Emarcy)
# 8 Dizzy Gillespie accompanied by Sonny Stitt Sonny Side Up The Eternal Triangle (Verve)
         
Book A "How To ..." book
         
Luxury Item A shower and a putting green.
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