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Hank Hirsh: Players

Dirty Henry - Hank Hirsh - Saxophones/Double Bass

Hank Hirsh Born: Chicago, Illinois July 24, 1951 Primary Instrument: saxophone (tenor, alto and soprano) Additional instruments (in order of proficiency ~): acoustic bass, piano, shakuhachi Favorite saxophonists: Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, Jackie McLean, Gene Ammons, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, Ornette Coleman Experience: Has studied saxophone technique and improvisation with prominent Chicago saxophonists Edward Petersen, Peter Grenier, Tommy Ponce, Rich Corpolongo and Lin Halliday. Studied music theory with Lionel Bordelon and James Mack of Loop College, Chicago. Has lead his own bands in various configurations since 1978. Has worked in many of Chicago’s big bands; Loop College Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Society Swing Band, Lionel Bordelon’s Jazz Attack Big Band, The Lee Roland Orchestra. Hank Hirsh/Merle Boley Quintet performed in Chicago for several years in the 1980’s in clubs, festivals, TV and radio broadcasts. Has worked and played with Tommy Ponce, Ira Sullivan, Clifford Jordan, Von Freeman, Roy Haynes, Tyler Mitchell, Hamid Drake, Othello Molineaux, Anne Pringle, Julie Ponce, Robert Barry, Brienn Perry, Sunnyland Slim, Erwin Helfer, Barcelona Red, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Bob Dogan, Gary Moran, Jim Cooper, and Bill Heid, as well as many others in Chicago. In Japan he led his own band, which included Gary Moran on piano. They performed extensively throughout the country and in Southeast Asia. He played with George Kawaguchi, Japan’s most famous drummer and with Isao Suzuki the acoustic bass patriarch of Japan. His Japanese band performed at the Osaka Blue Note opposite the Oscar Peterson/Ray Brown quartet, then again opposite Ana Caram. In 1990 while living in Japan, he had a significant acting part in the NHK (Japan National Television) production of Kobe no Monogatari, the true story of jazz's entrance into Japanese culture. He played the part of Alec, a Russian saxophonist who played with the Cherry Land Orchestra. His good friend, Bill Heid, world famous jazz organist played the part of a piano playing Irish priest. They had a ball working and clowning together. All dialogue was in Japanese. Presently he is interested in the tenor/trombone front line for his quintet and writing with that instrumentation in mind. In January 2005 he released a CD of original music. It can be previewed at: The CD is also available through Tower Plans are under way for the next recording project in early 2006.

Sammy H. pianist - Sam Hirsh

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1989, Sam (Sadamu) has been listening to jazz since before his birth. His dad, Hank tells of placing headphones on mom Taeko's belly while little Sammy was in there. The kid was groovin' to Bird and Coltrane even then.
Sam began his piano study at age 5. He began playing jazz in 2001. He played the alto saxophone with Cliff Waits' ensemble at Portland Community College at the same time he was playing in the DaVinci middle school band. At the urging of saxophonist dad Hank ("one saxophone player per family is plenty. Play something you can gig with.") Sam began to study jazz piano, first at home with basic concepts, then finding Phil Goldberg and later George Mitchell, two of Portland's premier player/teacher personalities. From that point Sam's playing began to blossom. Presently he studies with Mark Simon, another of Portland's finer pianists and a Chicago transplant.

Sam leads his own working trio and quintet. Sam is gaining a lot of experience as the pianist in his father's quintet and has been very fortunate to work with very high calibre musicians in that band.
In any case, Sam is carrying his weight and great things can be expected of him. He plans to make music his career and has already made it his life.
Sam was selected for the all-star high school student band in August 2006. He performed with the band at the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival and received standing ovations for all of his features. In addition, he recently played a benefit at LV's (Leroy Vinnegar Institute) honoring local jazz educators. Darrell Grant was in attendance to receive an award and was extremely impressed with Sam's playing.
Sam continues to work all over the Portland area and is now applying to several colleges in the east.
No doubt good things will come to him. He plays for the love of the music. How rare it is to find a musician so young with the perspective he has.