Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Hank Jones: Master Class

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This Jones CD contains two Muse LP’s dating from 1977 and ’78. The great pianist teams with bassist George Duvivier and drummer Ben Riley on the first and leads a quintet with brother Thad on cornet, tenor saxman Charlie Rouse, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Mickey Roker on the second. All of the tunes on them are by either Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis. Hank ranks among the best bop pianists but continued to evolve in the 1950s and ’60s. I’m not sure putting him in a bop revival context brings out the best in him, although some updated arrangements certainly lend interest to the proceedings. The exquisite version of “Groovin’ High” by an unusual trio consisting of a muted Thad, Roker and Hank, who has an expanded role in the rhythm section due to the absence of a bassist, and the bi-tonal statement of “Anthropology” indicate these guys aren’t standing pat.

Hank and both bassists and drummers are known for improvising impeccably and that’s what they do on these albums. If Hank’s playing has been more daring elsewhere, it’s still lucid and lyrical. Thad performs with inspiration; it’s a shame he hasn’t received the recognition he deserves as one of the greatest and most original jazz trumpeters; so original that others couldn’t imitate him.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.