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Sir Roland Hanna: Tributaries

The past few years have seen some devastating hits among significant mainstream jazz pianists. In 2002 we lost Sir Roland Hanna, a musician’s musician who played with everyone from Benny Goodman to Elvin Jones. Hanna’s artistry, though, may best be experienced in his role as a solo pianist. Tributaries (IPO), Hanna’s final album, pays homage to the majestic Tommy Flanagan who died in 2001. Flanagan’s gift was for interpretation; only two of the tunes here (“Sea Changes” and “Delarna”) bear his name as composer. Yet his taste in other writers was infallible, allowing Hanna to find choice works beloved by his old friend. Hanna brings his own refined technique, luxurious tone and force of personality to such Flanagan favorites as “The Cup Bearers,” “Robin’s Nest” and “Never Let Me Go.” The expressive results stir up nostalgic thoughts of both of these Detroit keyboard masters.

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