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Hank Jones: The Talented Touch and Porgy and Bess

Franz A. Matzner By

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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.

Track Listing: 1. If I Love Again 2. My One and Only Love 3. Don't Ever Leave Me 4. It's Easy To Remember 5. You Are My Love 6. Blue Lights 7. The Blue Room 8. A Sunday Kind of Love 9. Star Eyes 10. Let Me Know 11. Try A Little Tenderness 12. Easy To Love 13. Summertime 14. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York 15. My Man's Gone Now 16. It Ain't Neccessarily So 19. I Got Plent O' Nuttin' 20. Oh, I Can't Sit Down 21. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess 22. Ain't Got No Shame

Personnel: Hank Jones: Piano; Milt Hinton: Bass; Barry Galbraith: Guitar; Osie Johnson: Drums; Kenny Burrell: Guitar; Elvin Jones: Drums.

Title: The Talented Touch and Porgy and Bess | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Okra-Tone Records

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