By Yelena Kasyan
The maestro has recently created his jazz trance atmosphere, with genius improvisations, in Minsk, making our hearts beat faster as we listened to his enchanting voice.
Hank English — a soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra — not only sings but also plays the Hammond organ, piano and drums, delighting audiences. Born to a family of musicians, he began to play and sing as a child, performed in Washington jazz clubs from the age of 16. His inimitable style immediately attracted the attention of the public and his voice was compared with that of legend Ray Charles. His organ playing is like that of swing star Jimmy Smith.
Hank’s performances with great orchestras have enriched his jazz palette with a special feeling of harmony and rhythm. However, like any ambitious musician, he desires more than to imitate others. His fascinating vocals, and improvisations on the Hammond organ, bring each composition alive. His concerts, which rely on contrasts, always inspire standing ovations.
“This is Hank English’s first trip to Belarus,” notes jazz producer and musician Yevgeny Vladimirov. “The maestro has performed true blues by Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong and I’m confident that everyone who has seen him was enchanted by the magic of pure jazz.”