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Aural Pleasure

Hank Jones and Charlie Haden: Come Sunday

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When Hank Jones passed in May of 2010, he left behind a truly stunning legacy secured over seven decades as one of jazz's premier pianists playing alongside the likes of Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald. Come Sunday, an album of duet recordings with the equally brilliant bassist Charlie Haden, is Jones' final recording, and as such, it seems only natural to seek in it a sense of poignancy. It doesn't require much. With a tracklist focusing entirely on spirituals, Come Sunday is Jones' gospel, with each tune glowing with the soulful warmth and understated joy of an aged master. There are no broad reconstructions or unique interpretations of any of these traditional hymns. Jones and Haden wisely choose instead to adhere closely to the melody and simple power of each tune, both men know enough never to sacrifice feeling for flash. If there is a criticism to be had, it's the uniformity. Everything unfolds at a peaceful plod, making it almost impossible to distinguish between tracks. However Come Sunday is not meant to be a cerebral experience. It's a simple and beautiful record, best left to wash over you and share its serenity.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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