Henry W. Jones Jr. was born in Vicksburg, Miss., on July 31, 1918. One of 10 children, he grew up in Pontiac, Mich., near Detroit, where he started studying piano at an early age and first performed professionally at 13. He began playing jazz even though his father, a Baptist deacon, disapproved.
Jones spent much of his career in the background. For three and a half decades he was primarily a sideman, most notably with Ella Fitzgerald; for much of that time he also worked as a studio musician on radio and television. But before he died, he had become a Jazz Icon and a living legend.
It was Hank Jones who accompanied Marilyn Monroe as she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, who was about to turn 45, during a Democratic Party fund-raiser at Madison Square Garden in May 1962.
There are five canvases in this suite-- each containing the same elements but positioned differently (representing Jones' 1990's recordings that placed his piano in a range of contexts).