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Hank Jones: I Haven’t Done My Best Yet

Hank Jones

Hank Jones says he’s lost a couple of inches in the length of his fingers over the years. A lot of “rock ‘n’ roll dates, pounding the keys to play triplets” were the cause, he suggests. Two inches sounds like a lot-even for too many “rock ‘n’ roll dates”-but it hovers on the edge of reason when one takes into account the fact that Jones celebrated his 90th birthday in July 2008. Shrinkage happens.

But when he reaches out for a handshake, and you feel your own hand-not exactly small-completely enveloped by his, you can only marvel at what his paws must have been like, say, a half-century ago. At the moment, they look as though they could cover the span of a major tenth on the keyboard. (For non piano-playing readers, that’s a reach from a C to the E beyond the next C; 10 white notes, in other words.)

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