As a bunch of folks know the master jazz pianist Hank Jones, 91, died a few days ago. A little over two years ago I posted a series of reviews about the 2008 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival on my now non-existent blog. So to get this new blog going (cause hey, the school year is over and I’ve got all kinds of time) and to give a tribute to the greatest pianist I’ve ever had the fortune to see and hear live, I thought I’d hit you with my only writing (thus far) about Hank Jones. Without further adieu, here’s an excerpt from my February 26, 2008 review of the Hampton Festival:
Hank Jones not only amazed folks, but he did it to himself. Just seeing Jones in person and realizing that not only has he been around since the mid ‘40s and has worked with just about everyone, but that his two youngest brothers (drummer Elvin and trumpeter Thad-both deceased) are legends in their own right, is hard to comprehend. Friday night he played a couple solo piano tunes and also two-piano duets with Gerald Clayton and Taylor Eigsti, but it were the solo pieces that stood out. As he finished each one up he kind of laughed at himself, half surprised, as if he had stumbled accidentally upon the meaning of life, realized it was ridiculously simple, and then was content to let it go. It was amazing to see someone near 90 years old with his experiences still be able to surprise himself with music.