You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hank Jones Trio

All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude.

With:
Musicians: Hank Jones, George Mraz, Kenny Washington. Guest soloist: Joe Lovano.

All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to impart his wisdom, but careful not to do it by force-feeding.

Opening with a vibrant, softly glowing rendition of Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low,” Jones seemed intent on enveloping his audience in a plush sonic cloak — creating an ambiance that split the difference between easy comfort and sleek sophistication. Loping languidly across the keys on a wistful version of “Lady Luck” (written by his late brother, cornetist Thad Jones), he accentuated the former element in the friendliest of fashion.

Given a resume that includes stints with artists as varied as Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker (whose “Now’s the Time” provided one of the perf’s grittier interludes), you’d expect Jones to show plenty of range in concert. And on that front, he didn’t disappoint, segueing deftly between earthy be-bop vamping and elegant melody-spinning — even merging the two on a querulous version of Mary Lou Williams’ “Lonely Moments.”

Jones isn’t the kind of player who sets out to dazzle. Eschewing flash, he solos with a surprising dexterity — engaging his audience and fellow musicians in a dialogue that’s rife with complete sentences, but short on exclamation points. Bassist George Mraz, a frequent collaborator of Jones’, shares that musical lexicon, as borne out by the loose, arcing solos he dropped into several tunes.

Guest soloist Joe Lovano, who joined the trio for the final third of the 75-minute set, offered some pleasantly burnished solos that ultimately seemed more decorative than expressionistic. The saxophonist, masterful at tailoring his tone to fit his surroundings, lopped off a good bit of his higher register and forswore some of his more intense tendencies. A bit more edge wouldn’t have hurt, but Lovano’s gently applied icing suited this sweet evening just fine.

Hank Jones Trio

Birdland; 225 seats; $35 top

Production: Presented by Festival Prods. Reviewed June 25, 2001.

Cast: Musicians: Hank Jones, George Mraz, Kenny Washington. Guest soloist: Joe Lovano.

More Music

  • ASBURY PARK, NJ - JUNE 18:

    Bruce Springsteen Brings the Boogie to Asbury Park Venue's Grand Reopening

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • Robbie Williams

    Robbie Williams On His World Cup Middle Finger: ‘I Cannot Trust Me’

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • Carpool Karaoke in London with Paul

    First Look at Paul McCartney in 'Carpool Karaoke' (Watch)

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • Beyonce Jay Z video

    Album Review: Beyonce & Jay-Z's 'Everything Is Love'

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • XXXTentacion

    Rapper XXXTentacion Dies After Shooting

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • Calvin Harris

    Calvin Harris, Hakkasan Partner to Eliminate Plastic Straws (EXCLUSIVE)

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

  • Robert Trujillo Lars Ulrich

    Metallica Donates Swede Polar Music Prize to Three Charities

    All too often, the elder statesmen of jazz tend to either succumb to cantankerousness or drift off into kitsch. Octogenarian pianist Hank Jones, however, brings his decades of experience into play without the slightest whiff of attitude: His tenor, as evidenced at this rare Manhattan club date, is that of a wizened uncle, eager to […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content