Roland Hanna

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Sir Roland Hanna
Ed playing with Hanna.jpg
Roland Hanna with Ed Wiley, 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
InstrumentsPiano, 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, 1950–52. 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.[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 this 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]

Hanna is often referred to as "Sir Roland Hanna" as he was given an honorary knighthood by President William Tubman of Liberia in 1970.[2] 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.[2] He died of a viral infection of the heart on November 13, 2002.[2]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1959 Destry Rides Again Some tracks trio, with George Duvivier (bass), Roy Burns (drums); some tracks quartet, with Kenny Burrell (guitar) added[4]
1959 Easy to Love Trio, with Ben Tucker, Roy Burns[4]
1971 Child of Gemini MPS Trio, with Dave Holland (bass), Daniel Humair (drums)[5]
1973 Sir Elf Solo piano[6]
1973 The New Heritage Keyboard Quartet Blue Note With Mickey Tucker (piano), Richard Davis (bass), Eddie Gladden (drums, percussion)
1974 Perugia Freedom Solo piano; in concert[7]
1974? Informal Solo Solo piano
1974? 1 X 1 with George Mraz
1974? A Jazz Hour with Roland Hanna Walkin' with Stephane Grappelli, George Mraz, Mel Lewis
1974? Let It Happen with The Jazz Piano Quartet
1976? Porgy & Bess with George Mraz
1976? Sunrise, Sunset, Super Duo with George Mraz
1976? 24 Preludes Book 1 with George Mraz
1974–77 Sir Elf Some tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with George Mraz (bass) added[6]
1977? At Home with Friends with George Mraz, Richard Pratt
1977? Time for the Dancers with George Mraz, Richard Pratt
1978? Roland Hanna Plays the Music of Alec Wilder Solo piano
1978 A Gift from the Magi West 54 Solo piano[8]
1978 Bird Tracks Progressive Solo piano[9]
1978 Play for Monk Duo, with George Mraz (bass)[10]
1978? 24 Preludes Book 2 with George Mraz
1978? Rolandscape with George Mraz, Ben Riley
1978? This Must Be Love Progressive Trio, with George Mraz (bass), Ben Riley (drums)[11]
1978–79 Impressions Black & Blue With Major Holley and George Duvivier (bass; separately), Alan Dawson (drums)[7]
1979? Trinity with Hans Koller, Attila Zoller
1979? Och jungfrun gick åt killan... Solo piano
1979 Piano Soliloquy L + R Solo piano[12]
1979 Swing Me No Waltzes Solo piano; reissue by Storyville added tracks from 1973[9]
1982? Gershwin Carmichael Cats One track duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, dectet[13]
1982? Romanesque Black Hawk Duo, with George Mraz (bass)[12]
1987? Manhattan Christmas Solo piano
1987 'Round Midnight Town Crier Solo piano[4]
1987 Persia My Dear DIW Trio, with Richard Davis (bass), Freddie Waits (drums)[7]
1987 This Time It's Real Storyville Quartet, with Jesper Thilo (tenor sax), Mads Winding (bass), Aage Tanggaard (drums); in concert[7]
1987 Glove Black Hawk Trio, with George Mraz (bass), Motohiko Hino (drums)[12]
1988? The Bar with Clint Houston, Lewis Nash
1989? When You Wish Upon a Star with Ron Carter, Ben Riley
1990? Memoir
1990 Duke Ellington Piano Solos Musicmasters Solo piano[7]
1993 Plays Gershwin Laserlight[4]
1993 Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Volume Thirty-Two Concord Solo piano; in concert[7]
1994? Jazz Sonatas with Dave Brubeck, Dick Hyman
1996? Hush A Bye
1996? 3 for All with Bucky Pizzarelli
1997? The Three Black Kings
1999? Royal Essence: An with of Ellington with Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille
1999? Ancestral Light with George Mraz
2001 Dream Venus Trio, with Paul West (bass), Eddie Locke (drums)[14][15]
2002 Milano, Paris, New York: Finding John Lewis Venus Trio, with George Mraz (bass), Lewis Nash (drums)[16]
2002 Everything I Love IPO Solo piano[4]
2002? I've Got a Right to Sing The Blues IPO Duo, with Carrie Smith (vocals)[4]
2002? Last Concert
2002 Après Un Rêve Venus Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Grady Tate (drums)[17]
2002 Tributaries: Reflections on Tommy Flanagan IPO Solo piano[4]


  • Colors from a Giant's Kit (IPO)

With the New York Jazz Quartet[edit]

With Mingus Dynasty[edit]

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

As sideman[edit]

With Pepper Adams

With Gene Ammons

With George Benson

With Dee Dee Bridgewater

With Ruth Brown

With Kenny Burrell

With Ron Carter

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Richard Davis

With Eddie Daniels

  • First Prize! (Prestige 1966)

With Jon Faddis and Billy Harper

With Stéphane Grappelli

  • Meets the Rhythm Section (1973)

With John Handy

With Jimmy Heath

With Al Hibbler

With Freddie Hubbard

With Elvin Jones

With Jim Hall

With Miriam Klein

  • By Myself (L+R, 1979)

With Jimmy Knepper

With Hubert Laws

With Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra

  • Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra – Jazz At Lincoln Center: They Came To Swing (Sony, 1992)

With Herbie Mann

With Les McCann

With Charles Mingus

With Frank Morgan

With Idris Muhammad

With Ray Nance

With Kwame Nkrumah

  • The Ninth Son (Columbia, 1969)

With Seldon Powell

  • Seldon Powell Sextet Featuring Jimmy Cleveland (Roost 1956)

With Red Rodney

With Don Sebesky

With Louis Smith (musician)

  • Prancin (Steeple Chase 1979)

With Sonny Stitt

With Phil Woods


  1. ^ Allmusic
  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, p292. Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: Child of Gemini". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Sir Elf (1977)". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: A Gift from the Magi". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2004). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th ed.). Penguin. pp. 717–718. ISBN 978-0-14-101416-6.
  10. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Play for Monk". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: This Must Be Love". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Roland Hanna: Gershwin Carmichael Cats". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Roland Hanna: Dream". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "VHCD-2054". Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  16. ^ "VHCD-2031". Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "VHCD-2031". Retrieved December 20, 2018.

External links[edit]