Hank Jones memorial concert Sunday at auditorium

Published 10:57 am Friday, August 1, 2014

One Vicksburg music legend will honor another during a memorial concert Sunday.

Andy Hardwick, the last surviving member of the Red Tops, will headline the fifth annual Hank Jones Memorial Concert set for 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Vicksburg City Auditorium.

General admission is free, but reserved seating is available, said event organizer Shirley Waring of the Vicksburg Heritage League.

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The line-up includes Hardwick’s trio and six guest musicians, Waring said.

“We’ve got a wonderful line-up,” she said.

Jones, a world-renowned jazz pianist, was born in Vicksburg on July 31, 1918. He died in 2010. His 70-year career included recording more than 60 albums under his own name and playing as a sideman on hundreds of other albums.

When Jones was a child, his family moved to Pontiac, Mich., where at 13 he began performing music.

He recorded his first album in the 1940s and played throughout his career with fellow jazz greats including John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie.

In the 1970s, Jones was conductor for the Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’” based on the music of Fats Waller.

“Accolade after accolade, he was recognized as one of American’s top jazz musicians,” Waring said.

In 1989, the National Endowment for the Arts honored Jones with the Jazz Masters Award, and in 2003 the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers presented him with the Jazz Living Legend Award. In 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush.

“He led the way. He was one of the very first African-American’s to be on radio and TV, so he was a pioneer in getting African-Americans involved in television work,” Waring said.

Jones also accompanied Marilyn Monroe as she sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy.

His younger brothers, Thad and Elvin, were also renowned jazz musicians. Thad Jones was a member of and later director of the Count Basie Orchestra, and Elvin Jones recorded with Miles Davis and most famously as a member of the John Coletrane Quartet.