All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

393

Hank Jones: Hanky Panky

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones' musical career has been consistently active since he first emerged in the late 1930s. However, Jones had an especially fruitful period as a leader during the 1970s, releasing no fewer than 25 albums between 1975 and 1980. Unfortunately, many of these recordings were originally released on Japanese labels like East Wind and Inner City, until now only available as expensive imports.

But 441 Records' Harvey Rosen created the subsidiary Test of Time Records to reissue many of East Wind and Inner City's best recordings in remastered form, yielding a veritable bonanza of new discovery for American audiences. In this, the imprint's first year, he's already released nearly a dozen titles, including Jones' The Great Jazz Trio and releases by Art Farmer, Andrew Hill, and Sheila Jordan.

The three Great Jazz Trio releases, culled from a three night run in 1977 at the Village Vanguard, found Jones stretching out liberally with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams. But the precedent for the trio's modus operandi was already established in 1975 with Jones' Hanky Panky—a trio disc with Carter and drummer Grady Tate combining well-heeled standards with songs from contemporary composers, including Jones himself. While The Great Jazz Trio tended towards lengthy exploration, Hanky Panky represents a more concise view; the majority of the album's nine tracks are at or under the five-minute mark.

Looking back, it's curious that Carter—a member of Miles Davis' groundbreaking 1960s quintet with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Williams—chose to stay more closely aligned with the jazz mainstream, rather than following the fusion direction of his ex-bandmates. But that needn't imply any kind of complacency, as Carter's warm, resonant tone and imaginative musical choices—for example, the way he viscerally slides into phrases—combine with his intuitive sense of swing to make even often-covered tunes like "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" groove in a unique and evocative way. And on more contemporary material like Sara Cassey's minor blues "Wind Flower, Carter solos with lyrical and graceful economy.

Why Tate isn't spoken of in the same breath as Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, and Max Roach is a mystery. Fourteen years Jones' junior, he's got a discography almost as large, having played with everyone from Jimmy Smith to Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, and Stanley Turrentine, equally capable of the gently funky swing of "Nothin' Beats an Evil Woman as the heartfelt balladry of "Warm Blue Stream.

Jones is as elegant here as always. While totally steeped in the mainstream, he manages to buck convention in the subtlest of ways, which is why, at 87, he's still in such high demand. By continuing to absorb the ever-evolving language of jazz, he remains at once contemporary and timeless. Hanky Panky, like Woody Shaw's recently-reissued Stepping Stones, is what the mainstream should be. Familiar? Yes, but with a sense of adventure that retains a freshness and undeniable sense of discovery.


Track Listing: Nothin' Beats an Evil Woman; Warm Blue Stream; Confidence; Wind Flower; Minor Contention; Favors; As Long as I Love; Oh, What a Beautiful Morning; Hanky Panky.

Personnel: Hank Jones: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Grady Tate: drums.

Title: Hanky Panky | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Test of Time Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Diamond Cut" CD/LP/Track Review Diamond Cut
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 11, 2018
Read "Hesitantly Pleasant" CD/LP/Track Review Hesitantly Pleasant
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith" CD/LP/Track Review A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 11, 2018
Read "The Bucket List" CD/LP/Track Review The Bucket List
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Volume III: Magnetic Cycles" CD/LP/Track Review Volume III: Magnetic Cycles
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 19, 2017