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Jazz pianist Hank Jones dies at 91

Jazz pianist and composer Hank Jones, whose 70-year career included a stint as Ella Fitzgerald's pianist and Marilyn Monroe's accompanist when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, has died, his manager said . He was 91.

Jones, who won a Grammy lifetime achievement award last year and received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2008, died Sunday at a Manhattan hospital after a brief illness, Jean-Pierre Leduc said.

A tireless musician who performed swing and bebop until the end, Jones came from a family of jazz musicians who included brothers Thad, a trumpeter, composer and arranger, and Elvin, a drummer.

Born in Vicksburg, Miss., and raised in Pontiac, Mich., he was influenced by such legendary pianists as Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson and Nat King Cole.

Saxophonist Joe Lovano, a friend, said Jones knew them all, as well as Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell.

In 1962, he accompanied Monroe on the piano when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. - AP

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