The Talented Touch and Porgy and Bess
reissues on one compact disc two albums originally recorded by pianist Hank Jones with two different groups in 1958. The album thus documents Jones' uniquely honed rhythmic sensibilities and insightful interpretive skill as he interacts with a range of musicians, including bassist Milt Jackson, guitarists Kenny Burrell and Barry Galbraith, as well as drummers Osie Johnson and Jones' brother, the legendary and recently departed Elvin Jones
While the first album's worth of material amply showcases Jones' skills, partially due to a rather lackluster performance by his bandmates, it is the "Porgy and Bess" material which more extensively reveals Jones' talents. Supported by Milt Hinton and Kenny Burrell, as well as brother Elvin's immeasurable percussive abilities, Hank's playing stands out crisply in its almost minimalist approach. Interestingly, Elvin displays a light touch which may contrast with his usual pyrotechnic image, but is here perfectly matched to Hank's deliberative style, enhancing the subdued, intimate feel of this unusually pared down production of "Porgy and Bess." Particularly enchanting are the opening take of "Summertime," the lamenting "My Man's Gone Now," and "It Ain't Necessarily So," on which Hinton contributes a picture-perfect solo.
If only for the chance to hear brothers Hank and Elvin Jones performing together, The Talented Touch and Porgy and Bess
makes for a worthwhile reissue, and while Jones may not be the most innovative pianist in the jazz pantheon, the recording reveals him to be a commanding player whose power lies in something many of today's well-schooled, chop-glutted technicians continue to overlook, authenticity.
Personnel: Hank Jones: Piano;
Milt Hinton: Bass;
Barry Galbraith: Guitar;
Osie Johnson: Drums;
Kenny Burrell: Guitar;
Elvin Jones: Drums.