Hank Jones continues his remarkable late-in-life surge of activity with this new release documenting his first-ever recorded encounter with Canadian piano mainstay Oliver Jones. Hank Jones was 90 when Pleased to Meet You was recorded two years ago in Montreal while Oliver Jones was a relative pup at 74. That's a hell of a lot of years between them, but neither man seems impaired by age in the slightest. Hank Jones remains the epitome of understated jazz sophistication, masterfully blending bebop and swing while Oliver Jones, criminally underappreciated in the US, has a more hard-driving style that recalls his mentor Oscar Peterson.
The album opens with three tunes featuring the two pianos backed by an expressive young rhythm section (bassist Brandi Disterheft and drummer Jim Doxas), but the most memorable tracks are the five duets. Jones and Jones clearly have a ball romping through "Makin' Whoopee" and dig deep into their soul bags on Oscar Peterson's rowdy "Blues for Big Scotia." Peterson is an abiding presence throughout the album and is the subject of a touching tribute from Oliver Jones, "I Remember OP." Hank Jones also gets two solo numbers, including a brief, but brilliant "Monk's Mood," encapsulating a lifetime of jazz piano history into two minutes and thirty-two seconds.
Hank Jones was already a jazz elder statesman 30 years ago, when he made Moreover with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Al Foster, one of many top-flight rhythm sections Jones recorded with through the years in what was billed as the Great Jazz Trio. This newly reissued session features Jones and his much younger cohorts, both then in their 30s, on highly interactive takes of originals by all three trio members and some well-chosen standards. Highlights include Jones' bebop workout "Phasar," Foster's breezy bossa nova "Pauletta" and an especially strong version of Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple," with both Jones and Gomez in the forefront. An unfortunate stab at Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," with Jones on the Fender Rhodes, is the lone clunker. Still, it's a solid album by three exceptional and exceptionally compatible artists.
Tracks and Personnel
Pleased to Meet You
Tracks: What Am I Here For?; Groove Merchant; Ripples; Makin Whoopie; I'll Remember April; Star Eyes; Blues for Big Scotia; Cakewalk; Monk's Mood; I Remember OP; Lonely Woman.
Personnel: Hank Jones: piano, solo piano (9, 11); Oliver Jones: piano; Brandi Disterheft: bass (1, 2, 3); Jim Doxas: drums (1, 2, 3).
Tracks: Moreover; Another World; My Cherie Amour; Just Squeeze Me; Scrapple from the Apple; Aurora's Voice; Phasar; Pauletta.
Personnel: Hank Jones: piano; Eddie Gomez: bass; Al Foster: drums.