The Jones Brothers
Hank, Thad, and Elvin Jones were raised in Pontiac, Michigan. They grew up in a family of ten brothers and sisters with a mother and father who highly encouraged every one of them to play an instrument. Classical music was influenced by their mother, while their father emphasized the sounds of families’ church, African-American gospel. Highly educated with their parent’s musical knowledge and background, the three brothers set out to conquer the musical world their own unique styles and dreams. Though they rarely performed together, each launched a very successful musical career.
June, 31, 1918-May, 16, 2010
The oldest of the three, Henry ‘Hank’ was introduced to the piano at a very young age. While developing his own piano persona, he was influenced by the works of Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. He particularly enjoyed the sounds of Fats Waller, who was on Hank’s radio every morning before school. From classical, to bebop to ragtime, Hank was always open minded when it came to jazz styles. In fact, his playing was flexible enough to mold in to many different genres. This trait earned him much success in his later career.
When Hank was still in his teens, he worked with many small time bands in Michigan and Ohio. Branching out to New York in 1944, Hank played at the Onyx Club on 52nd street with singer/trumpeter Hot Lip’s Page’s group. He soon made a name for himself and was highly sought after by many main stream musicians. Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Billy Eckstine were a few of the great artists he had opportunities to study from and perform with.
After many years of freelancing, Hank joined the Jazz at the Philharmonic on a world tour from 1947-1953, in which he was Ella Fitzgerald’s pianist. Occasionally, he took some time off to record with Charlie Parker. After resigning to world traveling in the 50’s, he frequently bounced around to play with Lester Young, Artie Shaw, Cannonball Adderly, and many others before...