Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jake Hanna 1931 - 2010

One of the unsung heroes of Jazz drumming passed away recently, the tasteful and ever swinging Jake Hanna.

Hanna's resume reads like a who's who of great Jazz artists and I first heard Hanna's great drumming on the Oscar Peterson album "Oscar Peterson In Russia" (Leader Post sports/jazz columnist Rob Vanstone knows ALL about this album!)

Along with Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass this is one of my favorite Oscar Peterson records and all of the musicians are in fine form on this one.

During my studies with Toronto Jazz drummer Terry Clarke, I once asked him to describe and talk about his approach to big band drumming (Clarke was THE main drummer with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra for many years). I surprised to hear from Terry that his main influence, in terms of big band drumming, came from studying and listening to Jake Hanna with the Woody Herman big band. We would spend quite a bit of time listening to albums of the Woody Herman band, with Terry pointing out the many interesting things that Hanna did to drive the band and swing the music as hard as he did. I thought that was interesting stylistic connection there between Jake Hanna and Terry Clarke.

Here's some clips of Jake Hanna driving the Woody Herman Big Band circa. 1964:

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