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Hank Jones R.I.P.

May 18th, 2010

Hank Jones
“…one of the greatest piano players that we’ve ever had. He had a profile as a piano stylist in his own right and could do everything — stride, bebop, swing, serve as a great accompanist. He had such command of all the aspects of jazz piano. He was just remarkable until the very end.” –Dan Morgenstern

My friend Nick Moy pointed out this Washington Post obituary on jazz pianist Hank Jones. Partly because of the two records I produced in the 70s when Nick and I were roommates, but mainly because there were very few talents like Hank.

It must be said that Hank Jones being “produced” by a white kid from the New York suburbs is a complete overstatement, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. As is said about him almost everywhere, Hank was a gentleman to the core, with a soft but purposeful approach to life, which translated into his persuasive musicianship. A few hours spent with him translated into deep life lessons on many fronts.

Check out this half hour radio show, Piano Jazz Session on NPR’s Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, and you’ll not only get a taste of some great piano, but of a real man in a tough business.