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The Hank Jones Trio/The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
The 2002 Gilmore Festival/Thad Jones 80th Birthday

Hank Jones  

Hank Jones
Of the jazz brothers Jones, Elvin the youngest played drums in the John Coltrane Quartet; he's full of thunder and glory to this day. Thad in the middle was a brass player and he spent his life in big bands -- playing, composing, arranging, and ultimately leading. The career of Hank the eldest, an elegant, thoughtful and joyful pianist, has been a long, golden thread in the story of jazz and he's always been one of Dee Dee's favorites.

Hank Jones
Hopper Mgmt.

Along with the late Tommy Flanagan, Hank is one of the greatest piano interpreters of his brother Thad's compositions. Fittingly, he opened this JazzSet performance with two: "Lady Luck" and the song that could be considered Thad's biggest hit, "A Child is Born." Hank is accompanied by Peter Washington on bass and drummer Dennis Mackrell.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
With drummer Mel Lewis, Thad formed and co-led a band that launched Dee Dee Bridgewater's career, and she tells the story of her audition on JazzSet. Thad had charisma, but beyond that, he had the goods! His writing was and is gorgeous. The band lives on as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, in performance at the WBGO Street Fair in Newark, NJ, to celebrate the new Thad Jones Jazz Archive of his original manuscripts at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.

The VJO was nominated for a 2003 Grammy for the CD Can I Persuade You? One of the finest jazz orchestras working today, it plays live every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York. The current lineup is as follows.

Earl Gardner, Lead Trumpet
Joe Mosello, Trumpet
Glenn Drewes, Trumpet
Scott Wendholt, Trumpet
John Mosca, Trombone/Leader
Ed Neumeister, Trombone
Jason Jackson, Trombone
Max Seigel, Bass Trombone


Billy Drewes, Lead Alto
Steve Wilson, Alto
Rich Perry, Tenor
Marcus Strickland, Tenor
Chris Karlic, Baritone Sax
Michael Weiss, Piano
Phil Palombi, Bass
John Riley, Drums

"Lady Luck" Hank Jones Trio (Thad Jones/FrankWess)
"A Child Is Born" Hank Jones Trio (Thad Jones)
"A-That's Freedom" Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (Thad Jones, arr. Hank Jones)
"The Groove Merchant" VJO (Jerome Richardson, arr. Thad Jones)
"Bachafillen" VJO (Garnett Brown)
"Off the Cuff" VJO (McNeely)


  • The Gilmore Biennial Keyboard Festival Web Site
  • NPR's Jazz Profiles: Hank Jones show summary
  • The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Web Site
  • William Paterson University
  • Thad Jones Jazz Archive

    Hank Jones recording: thanks to the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, MI. Engineering by Kevin and Debbie Brown of Brown & Brown Recording with Brian Drews and Dylan Nau.

    Vanguard Jazz Orchestra recording: field producer Josh Jackson of WBGO with Spencer Graves and Brian McCabe, mix by Duke Markos, remote facilities by Aurasonic Ltd. with Steve Remote, production assistance from Katie Simon. Thanks to Tom Bellino, Douglas Purviance and Jerry Van Campen.

    Writer/producer Becca Pulliam, WBGO. Post production Duke Markos, Duke Markos Audio. Audio engineer Ginger Bruner, KNPR, Las Vegas.

    Copyright 2007 NPR