Roland Hanna

Destry Rides Again

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When Destry Rides Again, with music by Harold Rome, became a hit on Broadway, it was not a surprise that certain A&R men saw possibilities in producing jazz treatments of selections from this musical. Both Randy Weston and Sir Roland Hanna were prodded into doing albums of Rome's songs from the play, while Weston made a point to encourage Mosaic not to include it in a boxed set they compiled, Hanna passed away prior to this 2007 Wounded Bird reissue, so he didn't have a voice in the decision. This session was actually his first as a leader, though opportunities to record on a regular basis on his own were infrequent until the '70s. The pianist, who is joined by bassist George Duvivier and drummer Roy Burness, with guitarist Kenny Burrell added on four tracks, does his best with lively interpretations of each song, but the compositions never really caught on to become standards and they just aren't all that remarkable decades after their premiere, even if none of them are really bad or bland. Fans of Hanna will probably want to pick up this reissue anyway.

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