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Hank Jones, Versatile Jazz Pianist, Is Dead at 91
New York Times ^ | 5/17/2010 | PETER KEEPNEWS

Posted on 05/18/2010 11:39:00 AM PDT by nickcarraway

Hank Jones, whose self-effacing nature belied his stature as one of the most respected jazz pianists of the postwar era, died on Sunday in the Bronx. He was 91.

His death, at Calvary Hospital Hospice, was announced by his longtime manager, Jean-Pierre Leduc. Mr. Jones lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and also had a home in Hartwick, N.Y.

Mr. Jones spent much of his career in the background. For three and a half decades he was primarily a sideman, most notably with Ella Fitzgerald; for much of that time he also worked as a studio musician on radio and television.

His fellow musicians admired his imagination, his versatility and his distinctive style, which blended the urbanity and rhythmic drive of the Harlem stride pianists, the dexterity of Art Tatum and the harmonic daring of bebop. (The pianist, composer and conductor André Previn once called Mr. Jones his favorite pianist, “regardless of idiom.”)

But unlike his younger brothers Thad, who played trumpet with Count Basie and was later a co-leader of a celebrated big band, and Elvin, an influential drummer who formed a successful combo after six years with John Coltrane’s innovative quartet, Hank Jones seemed content for many years to keep a low profile.

That started changing around the time he turned 60. Riding a wave of renewed interest in jazz piano that also transformed his close friend and occasional duet partner Tommy Flanagan from a perpetual sideman to a popular nightclub headliner, Mr. Jones began working and recording regularly under his own name.

Reviewing a nightclub appearance in 1989, Peter Watrous of The New York Times praised Mr. Jones as “an extraordinary musician” whose playing “resonates with jazz history” and who “embodies the idea of grace under pressure, where assurance and relaxation mask nearly impossible improvisations.”

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: detroit; jazz; piano
The writer is the son Orrin Keepnews.
1 posted on 05/18/2010 11:39:00 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway


2 posted on 05/18/2010 12:25:12 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Prayers go out to his family and friends. Sounds like the kind of man where almost everyone has heard his work, but few could recognize him.

About your tag line. Amber Lamps wasn’t around for very long, was she?

3 posted on 05/18/2010 12:34:02 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

Nope, she sure wasn’t.

4 posted on 05/18/2010 1:15:39 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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