Jake Hanna Versatile Jazz Drummer Was in Merv Griffin's TV Show Band Dies


Sign in to view read count
Hanna, known for his unerring sense of time, was at home playing with big bands and small groups. He performed with Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Duke Ellington, among others.

Jake Hanna, a versatile drummer who played with such jazz figures as Woody Herman and was a longtime member of the band on Merv Griffin's television show, has died. He was 78.

Hanna died Friday at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center of complications from a bone marrow disease, said his wife, Denisa.

Hanna was equally at home playing with big bands or small groups. He performed with Herman in 1957 and the early 1960s, then joined Griffin's band, in which he played until 1975. Hanna moved to the West Coast when the show relocated from New York to Los Angeles.

During his career, he also played with Maynard Ferguson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Marian McPartland Trio, Roberta Gambarini, Harry James, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, among others.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (1988) said Hanna was “highly regarded for his unerring sense of time, his ability to control a band at any tempo and his refined musical taste."

He also led a group with trombonist Carl Fontana and worked regularly with the group Supersax.

John Edwin Hanna was born April 4, 1931, in Dorchester, Mass. He started playing drums as a teenager. “My father played all the early records. Benny Goodman, when Gene [Krupa] was with the band. It was easy for me," he told the Sacramento Bee in 2002.

Continue Reading...

Post a comment


View events near Los Angeles
Jazz Near Los Angeles
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

Jazz News


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.