From Detroit, Jones, now 90, comes from the illustrious Jones family that gave the jazz world trumpeter/composer Thad Jones and the innovative powerhouse drummer, Elvin Jones. Hank has become one of recordings most called-upon performers, having appeared with most jazz greats for more than a half century. Still going strong, he shows in this CD why he is rated the best.
The younger Oliver Jones, 74, has played over the years in the glow of his mentor Oscar Peterson. The album, in fact, is partly a tribute to Peterson, who died at the time of the record date. Oliver’s style incorporates the phenomenal technique of Peterson; as heard here, however, he has clearly become his own man.
The two swing through a collection of standards with a couple of originals thrown in. In the hearing, the feeling emerges that they are happily doing their own thing, at the same time filling in and complementing each other's ideas. On the first three sides, the two pianos are joined by Brandi Disterheft, on bass, and Jim Doxas, drums.
Things start off with a resounding start on Ellington’s "What Am I Here For?" Right away we’re also introduced to Disterheft’s inventive bass and Doxas’ infectious drumming. Next, "Groove Merchant" displays the delightful harmonic blending of the pianos.
In "Ripples," echoes of great stride players from James P. Johnson to Waller are found in Hank’s play. Disterheft’s bass and Doxas’ brushes again push this along. And notice how the two Jones "tickle the ivories" in unison.
Their duo on "Star Eyes" is a masterful collaboration. Hank’s simple approach is supported and enhanced by Oliver’s swirling arpeggios. It's simply entrancing.
Hank plays two solos, a reflective take on "Monk’s Mood," and for "Lonely Woman," he again displays his taste and sensitivity. In a solo, Oliver shows his tender side, too, memorializing his hero in "I Remember OP."
This match-up proves a gift for the listener. A delightful way to pass an hour listening.