Swing Me No Waltzes (1979)

Hanna, Ellington, James

Roland Hanna

Roland Hanna, one of the most flexible pianists of any generation, is heard to greatest advantage in the most basic of musical situations: unaccompanied. Since his arrival in New York in the Fifties, Hanna has acquitted himself with individuality and aplomb in contexts as disparate as the Benny Goodman big band and Charles Mingus’s experimental groups. While Hanna can make lovely solo flights and contribute meaningfully to bands, he also shares with such distinguished colleagues as Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, and Barry Harris – to mention some fellow-Detroit emigres – a superb gift for providing even the most diverse artists with sympathetic accompaniment. Unlike his aforementioned colleagues, however, Hanna’s strongest musical antecedents are in the two-fisted “orchestral” tradition of his instrument. Jones, Flanagan and Harris have pared their solo styles to leave room for a bassist and drummer, but Hanna – though perfectly capable of fine work in such a setting – has such a finely-tuned sense of time and Rock- of-Gibraltar left hand that he is able to create without assistance performances of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic interest. In so doing, and without resorting to imitation, he skips musical generations in concept, and echoes the stride pianists of the Twenties and Thirties.

Usually operating alone, they were expected to generate music that was both varied and swinging. Except for Duke Ellington’s Everything but You, all the tunes in this album are Roland Hanna originals and the fact that he is a composer of considerable talent is only icing on an already deli- cious cake. Sampling this particular slice of that cake, I am especially struck by Hanna’s ability to extract a full-ringing tone from his instrument at all tempi, and by the fact that he is capable of generating unflagging swing while creating the most lyrical mood. If you are a Roland Hanna fan, you probably know that he was knighted in 1970 by President William Tolber Tubman of Liberia, and it is therefore quite appropriate that at least two knightly virtues, Elegance and Grace, permeate Sir Roland’s music in this album.

[ill Farrar, (WBA1-FM, New York, March, 1980)]

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Roland Hanna

Hanna studied classical piano from the age of 11, but was strongly interested in jazz, having been introduced to it by his friend, pianist Tommy Flanagan. This interest increased after his time in military service, 1950–52. He studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music in 1953 and then enrolled at the Juilliard School when he moved to New York two years later. He worked with several big names in the 1950s, including Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus, and graduated in 1960. Between 1963 and 1966 Hanna led his own trio, then from 1966 to 1974 he was a regular member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Hanna also toured the Soviet Union with this orchestra in 1972. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet.

Roland Hanna was in semi-retirement for most of the 1980s, though he played piano and wrote the song "Seasons" for Sarah Vaughan's 1982 album Crazy and Mixed Up, and returned to music later in the decade. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hanna was a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.Around this time, he also began composing chamber and orchestral music; a ballet he wrote has also been performed.

Hanna is often referred to as "Sir Roland Hanna" as he was given an honorary knighthood by President William Tubman of Liberia in 1970. Hanna was a professor of jazz at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (CUNY) in Flushing, New York, and taught at several other music schools. He died of a viral infection of the heart on November 13, 2002.

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Swing Me No Waltzes (1979)

Hanna, Ellington, James

Roland Hanna

Executive Producer: Rene LafLamme (2xHD)
Mastering Engineer: Rene LafLamme (2xHD)
Producer: Rune Ofwerman
Recording location: Stockholm, May 2, 1979
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog to DSD256

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2XHDST1129: Swing Me No Waltzes
00:40:50   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
I Hear You Knockin' But You Can't Come In - Blues
Hanna
00:06:10   N/A
2.
Some Kind of Folk Song
Hanna
00:01:58   N/A
3.
A Little Sweetnin for Sweden
Hanna
00:03:39   N/A
4.
Free Spirit-Free Style
Hanna
00:04:36   N/A
5.
Everything But You
Ellington,James
00:04:19   N/A
6.
Swing Me No Waltzes
Hanna
00:04:04   N/A
7.
Lullabye for Cedric
Hanna
00:04:21   N/A
8.
Anticipation
Hanna
00:04:34   N/A
9.
Roses Not Mums
Hanna
00:07:09   N/A

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