Hanna, Sir Roland
- Scott Yanow
jazz pianist, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Hanna began playing piano when he was eleven years old. His first music teacher was his father, a preacher at the local church, who also played saxophone. His brother played trumpet and violin. Hanna doubled on the alto saxophone when he was attending Cass Technical High School, although he did not pursue that instrument.
Hanna began working professionally in Detroit clubs in 1948 when he was sixteen years old. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952, he became a significant part of the rich Detroit jazz and piano scene, following in the footsteps of Hank Jones and his contemporaries Barry Harris and Tommy Flanagan.
Moving to New York to study at Juilliard in 1955, Hanna gained attention and displayed his versatility during stints with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1958 including performing at the Newport Jazz ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.