Category: Jones, Hank

Hank Jones (July 31, 1918 – May 16, 2010) — His 93rd Birthday Anniversary

hankJonesHank Jones would have been 97 years old the other day, and if he were still with us, I’m sure he’d be the same funny, polite, gentleman he always was…and he’d still be one of the very baddest musicians on the planet.

Here is a fantastic pair of interviews with the great pianist, both from Ted Panken’s great blog. He posted these a couple years ago also in honor of Jones’ birthday, one from a 2007 Jazziz piece, and the other a transcription from a 1994 WKCR interview. Both interviews are just great, and cover so much. Hank covers a number of personal topics in the 2007 interview in particular. From the piece:

And I wonder if I was true, let’s say, to my race. There were times when I wanted to join the civil rights movement and march, but I would have lost my job. I had a wife and stepdaughter, and I had to support them. With my temperament, something could have happened to me, because things were going on that I might not have been able to accept. Although my instincts were to do the proper thing, I repressed them.

Click here to read Hank Jones (July 31, 1918 – May 16, 2010) — His 93rd Birthday Anniversary

—Peter Blasevick

Hank Jones in the Village Voice 2008

hankJonesIt’s no secret that Hank Jones is one of my favorite pianists of all time, and since today would have been his 96th birthday, it seems a good a reason as any to post another interview of his! Here he is speaking with the Village Voice in 2008, shortly atet his 90th birthday celebration(s). From the interview:

VV: Reviewers have called your playing “eloquent” and “lyrical,” as well as “relaxed” and “understated.” Do any of those adjectives not feel right?

HJ: Well, I don’t know how eloquent I am, but I play, probably, in a relaxed and understated manner. Perhaps. Perhaps that suits my style. Of course, this varies from tune to tune, as you know, because you don’t play the same way on every tune. Certain tunes make you think a certain way and certain other tunes make you think another way. But in the aggregate I think my approach is really pretty relaxed and laidback, you might say.

Click here to read Hank Jones in the Village Voice 2008

—Peter Blasevick

Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

hankJonesI love when a musician is interviewed by one of his or her peers…it usually gives the interview a slant it wouldn’t ordinarily have. Another musician will often ask questions of their subject that a non-musician wouldn’t necessarily consider because of their shared talents and experience. Here is a great interview in which pianist Bill Charlap, sitting in for regular host Marian McPartland on NPR’s Piano Jazz, interviews the legendary Hank Jones.

In this 2009 session, Jones returns to the program 30 years after his first appearance for a set of tunes spanning his career. “Keep the melody intact,” Jones says flatly. “You can do all kinds of things with the harmonies, but the melody must remain.”

The set list for the show:

  • “Lonely Woman” (Bill Stegmeyer)
  • “We’ll Be Together Again” (Carl Fischer)
  • “Lotus Blossoms” (Billy Strayhorn)
  • “Easy Living” (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin)
  • “Odd Number” (Hank Jones)
  • “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” (Traditional)
  • “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Mitchell Parrish)
  • “Oh, Look at Me Now” (Joe Bushkin/John DeVries)

Click here to listen to Hank Jones with Bill Charlap on Piano Jazz

—Peter Blasevick

Master Class with Hank Jones: John Snyder Interviews Hank Jones Backstage

What would a week of interviews with great Jazz pianists be without Hank Jones, who in his later years took on a big role of ambassador for the art form. There are  many interviews with Hank out there, and I like to link to them, but if you can only listen to one, this is it. In 2004 the legendary pianist sat down for a full ninety minute talk during a master class produced by John Snyder of Artists House Foundation and David Schroeder of the NYU jazz department. He talks about everything from his early days to the greats he worked with to some more technical aspects of music. Fascinating stuff.

— Peter Blasevick

Joe Lovano Discusses Hank Jones

This week I am posting video interviews from JazzVideoGuy himself, Bret Primack. Check out his channel on YouTube, there is so much to watch, you’ll look up and realize it’s two in the morning.

I’ve mentioned before I’m sure that I just love Hank Jones…any excuse to post about him is fine with me. Here is a nice long talk with tenor great Joe Lovano in which he discusses  working with the legendary pianist and goes into detail about their 2007 live duet album Kids.

— Peter Blasevick

Conversations with Christian McBride: Hank Jones

Any nine minutes you can spend listening to Hank Jones—playing, talking, whatever—is nine minutes well spent. Here is a quick audio interview from that Hank Jones did with Christian McBride for his Conversations with Christian. Hank is fantastic talking about George Shearing, cars being towed at gigs, and lots more.

— Peter Blasevick

The Nimble, Young Hank Jones

I admit I have a soft spot for Hank Jones. The whole thing: being part of an immortal family of musicians; his job for all those years as the CBS house piano player; playing piano on Marylin’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President”; the elder statesman thing later on in life…the whole story is great.

Here is a quote from this 2007 “All Things Considered” about his time at CBS:

“Sometimes you played accompaniment for singers. Sometimes you played for groups. Sometimes you played for operatic sequences that went down,” Jones explains. “Sometimes you played for elephant acts. Sometimes you played for dog acts. So you did a variety of things, all of which, when you added them up, it contributed to your repertoire.”

Click here to read and listen to The Nimble, Young Hank Jones

A Chat with Jazz Pianist Hank Jones

Pianist Hank Jones is a jazz legend. When Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald were at their peaks, Jones was right alongside them. He has played with virtually every jazz star one can think of, from Coleman Hawkins in the 1940s to Joe Lovano in the ’90s. Jacob Teichroew conducted this interview with Jones in 2009 just after the great pianist had been awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Click here to read A Chat with Jazz Pianist Hank Jones