Roland Hanna

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Roland Hanna
Ed playing with Hanna.jpg
Roland Hanna with Ed Wiley, 2001
Background information
Birth name Roland Pembroke Hanna
Born (1932-02-10)February 10, 1932
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died November 13, 2002(2002-11-13) (aged 70)
Hackensack, New Jersey
Genres Jazz, avant-garde, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, bandleader
Instruments 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, 1950–52. 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[edit]

  • Roland Hanna Plays Harold Rome's Destry Rides Again with George Duvivier, Roy Burns, Kenny Burrell, 1959
  • Easy to Love with Ben Tucker, Roy Burns, 1959
  • Child of Gemini with Dave Holland, Daniel Humair, 1971
  • Sir Elf, Solo album, 1973
  • The New Heritage Keyboard Quartet with Mickey Tucker, Richard Davis, and Eddie Gladden, 1973
  • Stephane Grappelli Meets the Rhythm Section with Stephane Grappelli, George Mraz, Mel Lewis, 1973
  • Perugia, Live at Montreux '74, Solo album, 1974
  • Informal Solo, Solo album, 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, 1974
  • Porgy & Bess with George Mraz, 1976
  • Sunrise, Sunset, Super Duo with George Mraz, 1976
  • 24 Preludes Book 1 with George Mraz, 1976
  • Sir Elf Plus 1 with George Mraz, 1977
  • At Home with Friends with George Mraz, Richard Pratt, 1977
  • Glove with George Mraz, Motohiko Hino, 1977
  • Time for the Dancers with George Mraz, Richard Pratt, 1977
  • Roland Hanna Plays the Music of Alec Wilder, Solo album, 1978
  • A Gift from the Magi, West 54 Records, 1978
  • Bird Tracks: Remembering Charlie Parker, Solo album, 1978
  • Play for Monk with George Mraz, 1978
  • 24 Preludes Book 2 with George Mraz, GP 3154, 1978
  • Rolandscape with George Mraz, Ben Riley, 1978
  • This Must Be Love with George Mraz, Ben Riley, 1978
  • Impressions with Major Holley, George Duvivier, Alan Dawson, Oliver Jackson, 1978
  • Trinity with Hans Koller, Attila Zoller, 1979
  • Och jungfrun gick åt killan …, Solo album, 1979
  • Piano Soliloquy, Solo album, 1979
  • Swing Me No Waltzes, Solo album, 1979
  • Gershwin Carmichael Cats, 1982
  • Romanesque with George Mraz, 1982
  • Manhattan Christmas, Solo album, 1987
  • 'Round Midnight, Solo album, 1987
  • Persia My Dear with Richard Davis, Freddie Waits, 1987
  • This Time It's Real with Jesper Thilo Quartet, SLP 4145, 1987
  • The Bar with Sir Clint Houston, Lewis Nash, 1988
  • When You Wish Upon a Star with Ron Carter, Ben Riley, 1989
  • Memoir 1990
  • Duke Ellington Piano Solos, Solo album, 1991
  • Sir Roland Hanna Quartet Plays Gershwin with Bill Easley, 1993
  • Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Volume 32, Solo album, 1994
  • Jazz Sonatas with Dave Brubeck, Roland Dick Hyman, 1994
  • Hush A Bye 1996
  • 3 for All with Bucky Pizzarelli, 1996
  • The Three Black Kings with Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille, 1997
  • Royal Essence: An with of Ellington 1999
  • Ancestral Light with George Mraz, 1999
  • Milano, Paris, New York: Finding John Lewis with George Mraz, Lewis Nash, 2001
  • Dream with Paul West, Eddie Locke, 2001
  • Everything I Love, Solo album, 2002
  • I've Got a Right to Sing The Blues: The Music of Harold Arlen, with Carrie Smith, 2002
  • Last Concert, 2002
  • Apres Un Reve with Ron Carter, Grady Tate, 2002
  • Tributaries: Reflections on Tommy Flanagan, Solo album, 2003
  • "Colors From A Giant's Kit", Compilation from the estate of Roland Hanna, 2011 IPO Recordings

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 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 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.

External links[edit]