Sir Roland Hanna: Colors From A Giant’s Kit

The late pianist Sir Roland Hanna (1932-2002) was one of those great guys that came out of the Detroit jazz scene, along with Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Gerald Wilson and Barry Harris. He was with Charles Mingus for awhile, and then made his name with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, before going off into jazz obscurity to all but the most in tuned fans. He put out a handful of discs for IPO Records just before he died, all of them unbelievably gorgeous. This last one, hidden from some reason, finally sees the light of day, and it’s a gem as well.

The fourteen solo tracks mix originals like the title track and “’Cello” with Ellingtonia and swing standards. His touch on “Chelsea Bridge” and “In a Mellow Tone” has a grandfatherly warmth; calm, relaxed, yet with a twinkle in the eye of having been around the block a few times. Ballads like “Lush Life” and John Coltrane’s “Naima” have the depth of silhouetted trees at dusk, while “Robbin’s Nest” glides like Dorothy Hamill on ice. Simply masterful, and shows what’s missing in today’s artists: patience.

IPO Records


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