Today I mourn the passing of the great pianist Hank Jones, who died Sunday at the age of 91. An undisputed master of elegance, Jones left his mark on recordings that span the history of modern jazz — Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Benny Goodman and countless others. He was the top-call sideman for the top-call leaders. But he also left a catalogue of pristine trio recordings. One of his last such albums, Upon Reflection, featured brother Elvin Jones (of Coltrane fame) in a moving tribute to their brother Thad Jones, the great composer and arranger. The talent in that family was startling.
Twice while living in New York, I tried to go see him perform. The first time, a snow storm blew through town that grounded us both.The second time, I made it to the club but he didn’t. Mr. Jones had been injured in a fall earlier that day. I will try not to dwell on these missed opportunities. Instead, I will cherish the joy of his recordings, which today fill my home.
A wonderful obit can be read here:
RIP Mr. Jones.