There have been many incarnations of The Great Jazz Trio over the last 30 years. Legendary piano player Hank Jones has remained at the center and is the “constant” of the group. It has evolved into pairing Hank Jones with other musicians to produce unique and interesting recordings.
The “original” The Great Jazz Trio consisted of Hank Jones, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Over the years, the musicians who played with Hank Jones included Buster Williams, Eddie Gomez and Al Foster. More recent members include Richard Davis, Elvin Jones, John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette.
In the spring of 1975, the “original” The Great Jazz Trio performed together for the first time at the Village Vanguard for one week. The “dream team” of jazz giants came together at the urging of Tony Williams. The group was billed as “The Great Jazz Trio,” a name that was coined by the late Max Gordon, owner of The Village Vanguard. When Max Gordon called Hank Jones to ask if he would perform with Ron and Tony, Hank became very excited. He had just finished a long stint as a studio session musician and the idea of playing with Ron and Tony, who were from different generations, intrigued him.
The trio got together again in May of 1976. This time, they were in a recording studio to record an album with sax player, Sadao Watanabe. The result was the album, “I’m Old Fashioned” (which will be available later from Test of Time Records).
The three got along so well that they decided to perform together again. The trio was booked at The Village Vanguard for a week-long engagement between February 14th and 20th, 1977. Hank’s suggested recording the last 3-days of the performance for a live album. In all, six full hours of tape were recorded. These recordings established The Great Jazz Trio as one of the premiere trios of jazz and resulted in a series of three albums - At The Village Vanguard, At The Village Vanguard Volume 2 and At The Village Vanguard Again.
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