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  • Samuel Chell wrote on May 25, 2010 report

    Nice tribute and portrait. It recently struck me that Hank may be the most recorded pianist of all time, starting in 1944 and still showing up in the studios on a regular basis in 2009. And whereas he could play in the manner of Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, neither of the latter two could have worked with Bird and Diz, Miles and Dorham, Cannonball and Coltrane, as Hank did. Moreover, he pulled off a remarkable feat when, in the mid to late 1970s, and at the age of 60 (!), he decided to move away from being strictly an accompanist and reinventing himself as a featured player in his own trios (initially with Tony Williams, not Elvin). Oscar Peterson, who practically became house pianist at Verve throughout the '50s, would have to be his closest rival in terms of hours logged in the recording studio. But Hank was present on many dates on which he was uncredited, almost in keeping with his low-profile manner, self-deprecating humor (if you listened hard for it), and matter-of-fact approach to his craft (Elvin and the distinguished but mercurial Thad were the colorful members of the family). One of Hank's last great accomplishments was to call attention to the unique talent and musical significance of Roberta Gambarini. I'd still have to pick out as a personal favorite his work on a British-made album with Ray Brown and under Coleman Hawkins' name, "The High and Mighty Hawk."