US jazz pianist Hank Jones dies at 91
- 18 May 2010
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
US jazz pianist Hank Jones, who accompanied Marilyn Monroe when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy, has died at the age of 91.
Jones, whose career spanned 70 years, was singer Ella Fitzgerald's piano player from 1948-53.
He revealed that Monroe was "very nervous and upset" before her famous performance before JFK in 1962.
The musician was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys last year.
Jones was also named pianist of the year at the Jazz Awards in 2009, while he was awarded with the National Medal of Arts the previous year.
He called the Jazz Award plaudit as "the beginning of the end for me".
He made hundreds of recordings during his career with many of the jazz greats including Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins.
The pianist's manager, Jean-Pierrer Leduc, said Jones "lived and breathed music and was never far from a keyboard, even at the end".
He said he enjoyed "an incredible burst of productivity" during the final years of his life.
Mr Leduc said Jones had concerts planned into next year and had been due to play at New York's Birdland jazz club next week.
Saxophonist Joe Lovano, who worked with Jones on 2007 Grammy-nominated album Kids: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, called him "one of the master musicians in the history of jazz".
"He was the consummate accompanist and played with a very free-flowing approach.
"His sound, his touch, his ideas were all about feeling," he added.