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Impressions (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions (Nice & Brignoles, France 1978-1979))

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Album Review

Sir Roland Hanna was busy in the recording studios during the late '70s, as a number of different labels recognized his tremendous chops in a wide range of styles. Most of Impressions, put out by Black & Blue, is devoted to a trio session with bassist Major Holley and drummer Alan Dawson, kicking off with a brisk take of Cole Porter's "I Love You" and Sigmund Romberg's "Lover, Come Back to Me." Although "Body and Soul" is all but owned by tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins for his famous 1939 record, Hanna turns in a whirlwind solo piano interpretation that stands on its own merit. John Coltrane's "Impressions" is not typically heard in a piano trio setting, but it works wonderfully with Holley's driving bass and Dawson's inventive percussion in support of the leader's furious solo. Hanna's blues-drenched "The Lonely Ones" sounds like the perfect closing timepiece, though the CD reissue of this track is marred by wowing in the master tape. This reissue adds two bonus tracks, a gospel-influenced take of Miles Davis' "All Blues" and the Gershwins' "Isn't It a Pity," taken from an unrelated trio date with bassist George Duvivier and drummer Oliver Jackson. Recommended. [This version of the album includes bonus material.]


Born: 10 February 1932 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A talented pianist with a style diverse enough to fit into swing, bop, and more adventurous settings, Roland Hanna was one of the last in an impressive line of great pianists who emerged in Detroit after World War II (including Hank Jones, Barry Harris, and Tommy Flanagan). After serving in the Army and studying music at Eastman and Juilliard, Hanna made a strong impression playing with Benny Goodman (1958). He worked with Charles Mingus for a period in 1959, and went on to generally lead his own...
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Impressions (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions (Nice & Brignoles, France 1978-1979)), Roland Hanna
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