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Music Review: Oliver Jones/Hank Jones – Pleased To Meet You

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This is one sweet set of music for fans of old-school jazz piano. Pleased To Meet You is the first recorded collaboration between pianists Oliver and Hank Jones. They are unrelated, but brothers on the ivories. At the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2008, their idea of recording together finally came to fruition.

Pleased To Meet You kicks off with a classic Duke Ellington tune, “What Am I Here For?” It is a wonderful showcase for the complimentary styles of the two pianists. Listening to the way the two play off of each other is exhilarating.

“Makin’ Whoopee” is another example. It is rare to hear two soloists of any instrument play together, especially in jazz. Monk never brought another pianist in, and neither did Oscar Peterson. That is one of the reasons I enjoy Pleased To Meet You so much.

The quartet for this date is filled out by bassist Brandi Disterheft and drummer Jim Doxas. While Pleased To Meet You is very much a showcase for the headliners, there is room for the rest of the band. On the very first track, “ What Am I Here For?” Doxas takes a nice drum solo. The leaders of the band offer bass player Disterheft his space on the very next track, “Groove Merchant.”

Pleased To Meet You is comprised of a mix of standards and originals. There are the Monk and Ellington tunes previously mentioned, as well as pieces from Oscar Peterson and others. Both of the Jones men contribute as well.

Oliver Jones was 74 when this record was recorded, and Hank Jones was 90. I love the fact that jazz musicians are still as incredibly vital as these men are. There is never a missed note on Pleased To Meet You. For anyone who enjoys piano-based jazz of the bop era, this is a damn cool record.

Pleased To Meet You is very much a piece of the past. It is also a great reminder of what this music can still be.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • Daan

    Oscar Peterson recorded 3 or 4 albums with Count Basie as piano duets, and one with Benny Green. In his appearance on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz in ’98 Peterson admitted that he had never much liked the sound of two pianos and had only recently come to enjoy playing as a piano duo.

  • Greg Barbrick

    Thanks for the comment Daan. I think the Oliver and Hank Jones dual piano sound is terrific.