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Hank Jones Invitation Series at Montreal Jazz Festival

Hank Jones

If there were to be only one jazz musician to grace the cover of AARP The Magazine, the award-winning monthly lifestyle periodical targeted to people over 50, it would have to be Hank Jones. A consummate pianist, Jones was just a month shy of celebrating his 90th birthday when he performed at the 29th annual Montreal International Jazz Festival with four winning duo performances for the event’s Invitation Series.

In Montreal, Jones didn’t display the art of aging gracefully in a display of resignation; it was more in the form of seasoned glee, showing, throughout his four-day run, much musical alertness and agility and a charming humor. His musical wisdom-gained from with a plethora of jazz legends that stretch back to swing and bebop heroes such as Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Lester Young, up to current music titans such as Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden and Cheick Tidiane Seck-wasn’t lost. Jones cherry-picked compositions, mostly from the bebop era, that range from well-known standards (“Body & Soul,” “Blue Monk” and “Lullaby in Birdland”) to comparatively obscure gems such as Oliver Nelson’s “Six & Four,” his brother Thad Jones’ “Quiet Lady,” and his own compositions, “Lullaby” and “Lonely Woman.”

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