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Hank Jones Trio - Jazz na Hrade (2009)
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Hank Jones Trio - Jazz na Hrade (2009)

13-11-2013, 23:10
Music | Jazz

Hank Jones Trio - Jazz na Hrade (2009)

Recorded less than a year before the pianist died in May, this trio recording shows that his swing, invention of melodic lines, harmonic imagination and celebrated touch were flourishing at the end of his 90th year. The occasion was the 31st concert of Jazz na Hradě in Prague Castle. The series was initiated by the Czech Republic’s ranking jazz fan, its President, Václav Klaus. The first track of the CD is Klaus’s brief welcome and introduction. Jones takes over in the universal language of music, accompanied by the eminent Czech émigré bassist George Mraz and the young drummer Willie Jones III (no relation).
The trio establish their compatibility from the first notes. Through 13 pieces, it never wavers. The program typifies Jones’ sense of contrast, balance and discovery. It begins with his brother Thad’s “Lady Luck,” written for third brother Elvin’s 1962 album Elvin!. Willie Jones’ brush wizardry and Mraz’s restrained power blend under the elder Jones’ buoyant, full-bodied improvisation. Behind Mraz’s solo, Hank Jones gives a lesson, the first of many in the album, in the art of accompanying through reactive listening. Willie J. switches to sticks for a beautifully realized treatment of Joe Henderson’s modern classic “Recorda Me.”
The medium- and up-tempo tunes are a delight, but the ballads come close to stealing the CD. J.J. Johnson’s “Lament” and Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight” demonstrate the three musicians’ dedication to the principle of togetherness rather than emphasis on the individual. Which is not to suggest that Mraz and Willie Jones are less than splendid in solo. Willie is particularly effective in Hank’s “Interface.” The audience lets him know it. They show great warmth to hometown favorite Mraz, their most famous jazz export, particularly following his virtuoso solo on Wes Montgomery’s “Twisted Blues.” Commitment to the trio concept aside, Hank Jones firmly establishes his individualism in two-and-a-half unaccompanied minutes of “Lonely Woman,” capturing the wistfulness of the piece. It is neither the Benny Carter nor the Ornette Coleman “Lonely Woman” but the relatively obscure song by William Stegmeyer and Richard Carney.
“Comin’ Home, Baby,” “Stella by Starlight” and “Speak Low” swing hard. Jones reaches deep into the harmonies of “Speak Low” and gives Mraz more of his attentive support as the bassist executes yet another of his perfect solos. Jones concludes with two by his contemporary, Monk. “Rhythm-A-Ning” and “Blue Monk” effectively cover two of the staples of modern jazz, “I Got Rhythm” changes and the blues. It’s a terrific concert by one of the music’s treasures and a fine way to remember Hank Jones.
- Doug Ramsey

Artist: Hank Jones Trio
Title Of Album: Jazz na Hrade
Year Of Release: 2009
Label: Multisonic
Genre: Jazz
Quality: mp3
Bitrate: 320kbps
Total Size: 165Mb

1. Introduction by President Václav Klaus
2. Lady Luck
3. Recorda Me
4. Lament
5. Stella by Starlight
6. Round Midnight
7. Comin' Home, Baby!
8. Lonely Woman
9. Interface
10. Twisted Blues
11. Speak Low
12. Rhythm-a-Ning
13. Blue Monk

Hank Jones - piano
George (Jirí) Mraz - bass
Willie Jones - drums

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