Favors is a live recording from May 1996 of a Hank Jones recital in Osaka, Japan. Six cuts feature the trio work of pianist Jones, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Dennis Mackrel. The remaining five tracks augment the group with the Osaka College of Music's Winds Jazz Orchestra. Hank Jones' rich musical career has spanned over fifty years; his playing synthesizes important elements of many of the influential pianists in jazz history, from Art Tatum and Erroll Garner to Bud Powell and Bill Evans. Most significantly, Jones has fused these varied sources into a wholly personal style characterized by an almost orchestral approach to arrangement and harmony, a silvery touch, and masterful attention to detail. Favors is meticulously recorded and features thoughtful arrangements of six jazz standards, as well as two Hank Jones compositions. The performance of the title track, written by Claus Ogerman, is exemplary of trio playing at its most elegant. The larger ensemble arrangements by Katsuhiko Tanaka effectively frame the subtle piano work of this consummate jazz artist. Having actually experienced over half a century of the evolution of jazz piano, Jones beautifully consolidates qualities of stride, swing and bebop with more recent harmonic developments. Refined and enriched with time, the musicality of Hank Jones is a deeply fulfilling experience.
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AllMusic Review by Lee Bloom