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

Hank Jones: The Talented Touch/Porgy and Bess

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.

These two releases were recorded 44 years apart, when Hank Jones was 40 and 84 respectively. The Talented Touch is mostly short performances of sweet evergreens (“Try a Little Tenderness,” “My One and Only Love”), impeccably executed by a quartet with Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton and Osie Johnson. Scott Wenzel’s new liner notes theorize that Capitol’s motivation for putting this session together in 1958 was the commercial success of LPs by Erroll Garner and Jonah Jones. It was the rock ‘n’ roll era, yet there was a market for a certain genre of accessible, lightly swinging jazz.

The necessity for “lightness” may explain this album’s ultrapolite restraint. The down-the-middle renditions and charming tags and gentle, tinkling flourishes could have been provided by an artist less accomplished than Hank Jones-although not with his polished elegance. If caution renders this session less than indispensable, it is hard to imagine a nicer, more reassuring piano album to come home to after a difficult day at the office.

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.