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Jake Hanna
 Jake Hanna

John Hanna was born 4 April 1931, Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA.

He began playing drums in a marching band at the age of five in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In his youth he played in and around the Boston area, a territory where many fine jazz musician were to be found. During the late '40s and early '50s he played in bands led by Tommy Reed and Ted Weems; in the late '50s h worked with pianists Marion McPartland and Toshiko Akiyoshi, and in the big bands of Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman. He rejoined Herman in 1962, staying for two years in the band. Otherwise flitted briefly through the bands of Duke Ellington, Harry James and Boston-based teacher and rehearsal band pioneer Herb Pomeroy. What Hanna has described as the best time in his life came when he played with George Wein's band at the impresario's Storyville Club in Boston. In the band were Buck Clayton, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell and Vic Dickenson with Jimmy Rushing on vocals. In 1964 Hanna became a member of the studio band for the Merv Griffin television show, the based in New York.

When the show moved to California, Hanna was one of several musicians who were given the opportunity of moving with it, provided they made their minds up fast. Along with Bill Berry, Richie Kamuca and others, Hanna made the snap decision and ever since has been located on the west coast, even though the Griffin job ended in 1975. Since then he has worked with numerous bands, including Supersax, Count Basie, Herman, Berry, and co-led an occasional small group with Carl Fontana. Although highly skilled in all aspects of his work, Hanna is one of the most self-effacing drummers in jazz, happy to urge a band along with subtilety and discret dynamics. Any band with which he plays is guaranteed to swing and to have a goo time because, apart from his superb musicianship, Hanna is also a witty and gifted raconteur.




Readers's Comments
 January 2, 2007 from Dave Kenney

Jake Hanna--Alive and well on west coast. He's from Codman Sq and
probably the World's best Jazz Drummer

Jake Hanna hung around with all of us and once played in Dot High drum Corps and used to ask me to ask the band at St Matt Dances to let him sit in. He was a great kid and was home for our last Dot Reunion. He is one of the two people I know who grew up getting to do what he wanted to, and he has played with big bands and on TV and with many Jazz groups. He is our age and still playing dates all over the World!


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Jake Hanna
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Created: January 4, 2007   Modified: January 4, 2007