Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Roland Hanna With George Mraz - 1978 - Sir Elf Plus 1

Roland Hanna With George Mraz 
1978
Sir Elf Plus 1


01. Yesterdays 5:55
02. Meeting Of The Minds 4:38
03. My Shining Hour 4:40
04. Majorca (Based On Etude 6 By Chopin) 5:30
05. Where's That Rainbow 7:09
06. What, Does It Matter? 6:38
07. My Heart Stood Still 5:31

Bass – George Mraz
Piano – Roland Hanna

Recorded at Macdonald Studio July, 1977


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 trios. Hanna was an integral part of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis orchestra (1967-1974), and in 1974 helped found the New York Jazz Quartet (with Frank Wess). He was given knighthood (thus the "Sir") from the President of Liberia in 1970 in recognition for a series of concerts held to benefit Liberian children. Hanna recorded many solo dates and often with a trio, but also composed many works for groups of varying sizes - both for jazz groups and classical ensembles. His piece "Oasis" for piano and orchestra was performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1993. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Hanna was also an active educator and tenured professor at Queens College in New York. 

George Mraz has been a greatly in-demand bassist for straight-ahead dates ever since he emigrated to the United States in 1968. After a brief time playing violin and alto, Mraz studied bass at the Prague Conservatory and gigged at a club in Munich for a year. In 1968, he attended Berklee and he soon toured with Oscar Peterson (1970-1972). After moving to New York, Mraz became a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (1973-1976), worked with Stan Getz (1974-1975), and has since played with most of the top jazz players, including Walter Norris, Pepper Adams, Roland Hanna, Zoot Sims, Tommy Flanagan, John Abercrombie, Carmen McRae, Jimmy Rowles, Stephane Grappelli, and countless others. Other than an obscure duo date with Roland Hanna for Trio in 1976, George Mraz surprisingly did not have an opportunity to lead his own sessions until the mid-'90s when he signed with Milestone. His album roster includes Jazz (1995), Bottom Lines (1997), Duke's Place (1999), and Morava (2001).

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