Jake Hanna 1931-2010


Jake Hanna died February 12, 2010. In tribute to the accomplished drummer, we turn to Stan Keyawa of the Professional Drum Shop for some words about his old friend:

Jake Hanna remembered by Stan Keyawa…

As a young man working at Pro Drum in the early 70’s, I remember asking Jake before our Les De Merle drum clinic, “Hey Jake, are you going to check out our clinic today?” Jake replied, “No Stanley, I feel fine!” I walked away and didn’t get it till 10 minutes later when he turned to Bob Yeager and said, “The Les De Merle the better.” All in fun. Yeager and Jake cracked up (Les—you know how Jake was).

That was Jake’s style; Jake was something else. He may not have been a household name, but among the players and jazz enthusiasts alike he was a giant in the industry. No one had better time and musical feel than Jake. Swinging the Woody Herman big band, Tony Bennett, and Bing Crosby to the small trios, Jake’s soft touch and tasteful style stood out. Whenever Jake was picking out a set of brushes on the counter, everybody stopped, looked, and listened—a brush master he was.

It was a very sad day to hear the news on February 12th. Jake was a close friend of Yeager, president of Pro Drum, since the late 50’s; and really became a close family friend when he moved out to Los Angeles from New York in 1970 with the Merv Griffin Show. I remember our mom, Dolores Yeager, cooking many dinner parties at home involving Jake.

Our hearts go out to his wife Denisa Hanna and everyone that Jake touched throughout his life.

Oh…and if Jake put you down or made a joke about you, you probably deserved it. Be honored. He was a great one.


More about Jake.

Post your own remembrances or comments.

Debuting Nate Wood

Be Gentle
I was surprised to learn that this was Nate Wood’s first interview. It’s not like he’s an unknown. Buzz about his playing ripples in the wake of his electrifying live performances with Kneebody, and more recently, Tigran Hamasyan; and if you’re not hip to him you’re probably one or two cats away from someone who is in this town. Still, it’s true that there is little published record of the 30 year-old drumming phenom. That is destined to soon change, and I am happy to have sat down with Nate on New Years Eve day—less than a week before he departed his life-long home of Southern California for a new home and life in New York—to relate his story before it’s old news.

We covered Nate here once before, but I knew after that show with Kneebody that the resulting review was little more than a placeholder for a more revealing feature to come. So here you have it: our two-part, hour-long, tragically under-edited, implicitly promised video interview with Nate Wood.

Inspired Timing
My improvised plan was to massage the blatant symbolism of the new year and the very real transition of a cross-country move, into an opportunity for retrospection and a bit of horizon gazing. Nate indulged the premise and afterward acknowledged blissful emotional catharsis. It may have just been the effects of a late night and midday low blood sugar.

In any case, we did get the story. From a self-imposed retirement at age four, to gigs with two cutting-edge instrumental groups and John Tesh. That’s right. If you haven’t heard Nate play—or if you have—you might care to look and listen to this little piece of insanely-edited French footage first.

Congratulations and best to Nate on his move and upcoming wedding. To be continued.

Steve Krugman