Hank Jones Biography

Henry Jones, 31 July 1918, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. Eldest of three remarkable brothers in jazz (Thad Jones and Elvin Jones), Hank Jones was raised in Pontiac, Michigan and by the beginning of his teenage years played piano professionally in local bands. In 1944 he went to New York where he joined the Oran ‘ Hot Lips’ Page band. Although Jones had previously been in the mainstream of jazz, he was an eager student and fully aware of the changes currently taking place in the music. He incorporated bebop into his repertoire but remained an eclectic player, happily adapting to suit the needs of the artists he accompanied (who ranged from Coleman Hawkins to Charlie Parker).

Jones freelanced extensively throughout the 50s, working with Jazz At The Philharmonic, Benny Goodman and Milt Jackson among many, and ended the decade by becoming a staff musician at CBS Records where he remained until the mid-70s. During this long period of studio activity, Jones accompanied countless performers outside jazz and continued to record with numerous names in jazz. Since the mid-70s he has continued to work in various jazz contexts, as soloist, as duettist with Tommy Flanagan, George Shearing and other pianists, as accompanist to singers and instrumentalists, and as leader of his own small groups. A masterly musician, adept in most aspects of the jazz repertoire, Jones has been an important influence, as much for his professionalism as for the immense sweep of his talent.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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