A fine example of this is his version of Hard Way taken from Ellington's Afro-Eurasian Eclipse. Hancoff swings right from the beginning capturing the melody like a bee gathering pollen. His smooth delivery and tactile fingering slither in and out with graceful ease.
One of Ellington's most beautiful pieces The Single Petal Of A Rose (from The Queen's Suite), is delicately interpreted. Beautiful harmonics abound adding a fragile touch. Hancoff's ability to play inside the melody is uncanny. The result is an interpretation that holds up with the best of them.
A favorite of Ellington's while touring, Isfahan is portrayed in a slow liquid version. Taking the melody to the farthest reaches and back, Hancoff again displays a sincerity and dedication to the piece. One can almost imagine Hancoff playing with the Ellington band on this number.
A mid tempo version of Serenade To Sweden offers up a side of Hancoff's playing whereby he is having fun and just simply enjoying the moment. A trade mark of many Ellington compositions is that even though the compositions are melodic and rhythmic, they can also be fun to play. A three minute tidbit worth repeated listening.
The beautiful Star Crossed Lover (from Such Sweet Thunder) from the pen of Billy Strayhorn is a great example of pacing oneself. Playing the melody in stride, without rushing or over exaggerating makes this piece breathe in the hands of Hancoff. Each note carefully selected for maximum effect.
Pelican Drag from Harry Carney is a tricky piece of music. Negotiating the head can be a daunting experience but here again we find Hancoff pulling it off with ease. He brings it all together at the end after sailing through what could be described as musical land-mines in lesser hands.
An accomplished guitarist, Hancoff has delivered eighteen gems worthy of careful listening. By combining talent, a sensitive ear and an eagerness to enjoy the moment, The Single Petal Of A Rose stands out as a major achievement that should not go unnoticed.