Roland Hanna

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Roland Hanna
Hanna in 2001
Hanna in 2001
Background information
Birth nameRoland Pembroke Hanna
Born(1932-02-10)February 10, 1932
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedNovember 13, 2002(2002-11-13) (aged 70)
Hackensack, New Jersey
GenresJazz, avant-garde, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, bandleader
Instrument(s)Piano, electric piano, cello

Roland Pembroke Hanna (February 10, 1932 – November 13, 2002) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and teacher.[1]


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.[2] This interest increased after his time in military service (1950–1952). He studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music in 1953 and then enrolled at the Juilliard School when he moved to New York City two years later.[2] He worked with several big names in the 1950s, including Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus, and graduated in 1960.[2] 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.[2] Hanna also toured the Soviet Union with the orchestra in 1972.[3] 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.[2] Around this time, he also began composing chamber and orchestral music; a ballet he wrote has also been performed.[3]

In 1970, Hanna was given an honorary knighthood by President William Tubman of Liberia in recognition of concerts he played in the country to raise money for education.[2][4] Thereafter, Hanna was often known as "Sir Roland Hanna." Hanna was a professor of jazz at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in Flushing, New York, and taught at several other music schools.[2] He was a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey.[5]

He died in Hackensack, New Jersey, of a viral infection of the heart, on November 13, 2002.[2]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Year released Personnel/Notes
1959 Destry Rides Again ATCO 1959 Trio/quartet, with George Duvivier, Roy Burns, Kenny Burrell[6]
1959 Easy to Love ATCO 1960 Trio, with Ben Tucker, Roy Burns[6]
1971 Child of Gemini MPS 1971 Trio, with Dave Holland, Daniel Humair[7]
1973 The New Heritage Keyboard Quartet Blue Note 1973 As The New Heritage Keyboard Quartet, with Mickey Tucker, Richard Davis, Eddie Gladden
1973 Sir Elf: Choice 1973 Solo piano[8]
1974 Let It Happen RCA 1974 As The Jazz Piano Quartet, with Dick Hyman, Hank Jones, Marian McPartland
1973–1974 Walkin' Jazz Hour 1990 Some tracks trio, with George Mraz, Mel Lewis; some tracks quartet, with Stéphane Grappelli added
1974 Perugia Freedom 1975 Solo piano; in concert[9]
1974 Informal Solo Hi-Fly 1974 Solo piano. Reissued as Solo Piano (Storyville, 2005)[10]
1974 1 X 1 Toho (Japan) 1974 Duo, with George Mraz
1975 Roland Hanna Trio Salvation (Japan) 1975 Trio, with Ron Carter, Ben Riley
1976 Porgy & Bess Trio (Japan) 1976 Duo, with George Mraz
1976 24 Preludes Book 1 Salvation (Japan) 1976 Some tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with George Mraz
1977 At Home With Friends Progressive 1977 Trio, with George Mraz, Richard Pratt; also released as Time for the Dancers (1980)
1977 Sir Elf Plus 1 Choice 1978 Some tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with George Mraz[8]
1977 Glove Trio (Japan) 1977 Trio, with George Mraz, Motohiko Hino[11]
1977 24 Preludes Book 2 Salvation (Japan) 1978 Some tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with George Mraz
1978 Roland Hanna Plays the Music of Alec Wilder Trio (Japan) 1978 Solo piano
1978 This Must Be Love Progressive 1978 Trio, with George Mraz, Ben Riley[12]
1978 Rolandscape Progressive 1978 Trio, with George Mraz, Ben Riley
1978 'Bird Watching Progressive 1978 Solo piano[13]
1978 Roland Hanna and George Mraz Play for Monk Musical Heritage Society 1978 Duo, with George Mraz[14]
1978 A Gift from the Magi West 54 1979 Solo piano[15]
1979 Swing Me No Waltzes Storyville 1980 Solo piano. Additional tracks from 1973 included in 2000 reissue.[16]
1979 Trinity L+R 1979 Trio, with Hans Koller, Attila Zoller
1979 Piano Soliloquy L+R 1980 Solo piano[11]
1979 Impressions Black & Blue 1979 Trio, with Major Holley, Alan Dawson.[9] also released as Lover Come Back to Me (Norma, 1979).
1979 Och Jungfrun Gick Åt Killan... Sonet 1979 Solo piano
1979 Sunrise, Sunset Lob (Japan) 1979 Duo, with George Mraz. Reissued as When You Wish Upon a Star (AMJ, 2002)
1982 Romanesque Trio (Japan) 1982 Duo, with George Mraz[11]
1982 Gershwin Carmichael Cats CTI 1982 Duo/trio/quartet/quintet/sextet/dectet[17]
1987? Manhattan Christmas Fun House 1987 Solo piano
1987 Round Midnight Town Crier Recordings 1987 Solo piano[6]
1987 This Time It's Real - Live At Slukefter-Tivoli Gardens Storyville 1988 Quartet, with Jesper Thilo, Mads Winding, Aage Tanggaard; in concert[9]
1987 Persia My Dear DIW 1987 Trio, with Richard Davis, Freddie Waits[9]
1987? The Bar Fun House 1988 Trio, with Clint Houston, Lewis Nash
1990 Duke Ellington Piano Solos MusicMasters 1991 Solo piano[9]
1990 Memoir Century (Japan) 1990 Duo, with Eiji Nakayama
1993 Sir Roland Hanna Quartet Plays Gershwin LRC/Laserlight[6] 1993 Quartet, with Bill Easley, Jon Burr, Ronnie Burrage
1993 Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Volume Thirty-Two Concord 1994 Solo piano; in concert[9]
1994? Jazz Sonatas Angel 1994 Some tracks duo, with Dick Hyman; some tracks quartet, with chamber trio
1995 Ancestral Light Red Earth Jazz 1999 Duo, with George Mraz
1996 3 for All Cei Cymekob 1996 Trio, with Bucky Pizzarelli, Jon Burr
1996 Hush A Bye What'sNew (Japan) 1997 Trio, with Eiji Nakayama, Seiji Komatsu
1997 The Three Black Kings Jazz Friends Productions 1997 Trio, with Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille
1997 I Love Be-Bop Rahanna Music 1998 Trio, with Yoshio Aomori, Cris Roselli. Self-released.
1998? Family & Friends Prestige Elite 1998 With Michael Hanna
1998 Royal Essence: An Evening of Ellington Jazzmont 1999 Duo, with Davey Yarborough; in concert
2001 Dream Venus 2001 Trio, with Paul West, Eddie Locke (drums)[18][19]
2002 Milano, Paris, New York: Finding John Lewis Venus 2002 Trio, with George Mraz, Lewis Nash
2002 Everything I Love IPO 2002 Solo piano[6]
2002 I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues IPO 2002 Duo, with Carrie Smith[6]
2002 Tributaries: Reflections on Tommy Flanagan IPO 2003 Solo piano[6]
2002 Après Un Rêve Venus 2003 Trio, with Ron Carter, Grady Tate[20]
2002 Last Concert What's New (Japan) 2003 Some tracks duo, with Eiji Nakayama and Mihoko Hazama (separately); some tracks trio, with Nakayama and Hazama; in concert

Posthumous compilations

  • Memoir One For Eiji with Eiji Nakayama (What's New, 2004)
  • Colors from a Giant's Kit (IPO, 2011)

As group[edit]

The New York Jazz Quartet

Mingus Dynasty

  • Live At Montreux (Atlantic, 1981) – live
  • Reincarnation (Soul Note, 1982)
  • Mingus' Sounds Of Love (Soul Note, 1988)
  • Live At The Village Vanguard (Storyville, 1989) – live
  • Epitaph (Charles Mingus composition) (Columbia, 1990) – live recorded in 1989

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ "Roland Hanna | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Keepnews, Peter (November 15, 2002) "Roland Hanna, a Jazz Pianist and Composer, Dies at 70". New York Times
  3. ^ a b Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira (2007) The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, p. 292, Oxford University Press
  4. ^ Stryker, Mark (2019-07-08). Jazz from Detroit. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-12591-3.
  5. ^ Wilson, John S. "Jazz Pianist Sees the Stardom at End of Tunnel", The New York Times, June 1, 1975. Accessed June 28, 2019. "Then last June, the Thad Jones‐Mel Lewis Band, which plays every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York, suddenly lost its pianist, Roland Hanna of Teaneck, who left to form his own group."
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 647. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  7. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: Child of Gemini". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Sir Elf (1977)". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. pp. 577–578. ISBN 978-0-14-051368-4.
  10. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Solo Piano: Roland Hanna". AllMusic. Retrieved January 6, 2024.
  11. ^ a b c Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1992). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP & Cassette (1st ed.). Penguin. p. 477. ISBN 978-0-14-015364-4.
  12. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: This Must Be Love". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2004). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th ed.). Penguin. pp. 717–718. ISBN 978-0-14-101416-6.
  14. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Play for Monk". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: A Gift from the Magi". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Swing Me No Waltzes: Roland Hanna". AllMusic. Retrieved January 6, 2024.
  17. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Gershwin Carmichael Cats". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  18. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: Dream". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "VHCD-2054". Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  20. ^ "VHCD-2031". Retrieved December 20, 2018.

External links[edit]