Wednesday, May 19, 2010

HANK JONES has died. "I REMEMBER YOU" & Marilyn too

He knew the blue notes, and he was also a footnote.

Hank Jones (July 31, 1918-May 16, 2010) was a prolific pianist who recorded hundreds of sides both solo and as a session man. He toured with Ella Fitzgerald for many years, and backed the ubiquitous Diana Krall when she paid tribute to Ella and covered "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Footnote: he was at the piano on the night of John F. Kennedy's birthday party, May 19th 1962, backing up all the big-name guest singers. The musical highlight, though, was Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday," which didn't need Hank at all.

In his youth, Jones absorbed the influences of his era's most ebullient jazz pianists…Fats Waller and Art Tatum. In the 40's, he began to bop, recording with Charlie Parker. He was also adept at providing some ivory cool behind mainstream singers such as Billy Eckstine, Nancy Wilson and Frank Sinatra. Hank spent the 60's and half the 70's as a staff pianist at CBS, which meant he expertly handled the tempo and/or key changes of nervous vocalists on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

He remained both a busy side man and a solo artist through the 80's and 90's, and was still recording for a variety of labels in the 21st century…releasing albums of standards ("Porgy and Bess" and "Satin Doll") for the Japanese labels Toshiba and Absord (2003, 2004), signing with Sony for a pair of albums ("My Funny Valentine" and "Round Midnight" in 2005 and 2006) and offering "West of 5th" for the small but hip Chesky label.

Hank's shelf included a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, which arrived in the nick of time last year, and he was Grammy-nominated for "I Remember You," which most of you don't remember. But that's ok. It's your download. The 1977 album on the French "Black and Blue" label is one of his trio recordings; Hank on piano, with George Duvivier on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums. Melodic and accessible, with plenty of intricate Tatum-tasty work from Hank, below is a foursome of: Young No More, You Took Advantage of Me, It's the Talk of the Town and I'll be Around.

Let's remember Hank Jones Original Rapidshare link expired, re-upped via Box. No capcha codes, requests to be a paying member, or pop-ups.

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