Earl Hines (left) performs for Private Charles Carpenter (right), songwriter and manager of the Hines orchestra, at Camp Lee during World War II
December 28, 1903|
|Died||April 23, 1983
|Genres||Swing, Big band, solo piano|
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha"[nb 1] Hines (December 28, 1903[nb 2] – April 22, 1983), was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, a member of the Earl Hines big-band along with Charlie Parker, wrote, "The piano is the basis of modern harmony. This little guy came out of Chicago, Earl Hines. He changed the style of the piano. You can find the roots of Bud Powell, Herbie Hancock, all the guys who came after that. If it hadn't been for Earl Hines blazing the path for the next generation to come, it's no telling where or how they would be playing now. There were individual variations but the style of ... the modern piano came from Earl Hines."
Earl Hines was born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, 12 miles from Pittsburgh city center. His father, Joseph Hines,[nb 3] played cornet and was leader of Pittsburgh's Eureka Brass Band, his stepmother a church organist. Hines intended to follow his father on cornet but "blowing" hurt him behind the ears, while the piano didn't. The young Hines took classical piano lessons – at eleven, he was playing the organ in his local Baptist church – but he also had a "good ear and a good memory" and could re-play songs and numbers he heard in theaters and park 'concerts': "I'd be playing songs from these shows months before the song copies came out. That astonished a lot of people and they'd ask where I heard these numbers and I'd tell them at the theatre where my parents had taken me." Later, Hines was to say that he was playing piano around Pittsburgh "before the word 'jazz' was even invented".
With his father's approval, the 17-year-old Hines moved away from home to take a job playing piano with Lois Deppe & his "Symphonian Serenaders" in the Liederhaus, a Pittsburgh nightclub. He got his board, two meals a day and $15 a week. Deppe was a well-known baritone who sang both classical and popular numbers. Deppe used the young Hines as his accompanist and took Hines on his concert-trips to New York. Hines' first recordings were accompanying Deppe – four sides recorded with Gennett Records in 1923. Only two of these were issued, one of which was a Hines' composition, "Congaine", "a keen snappy foxtrot", featured any solo work by Hines. Hines entered the studio again with Deppe a month later to record spirituals and popular songs, including "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and "For the Last Time Call Me Sweetheart".
In 1925, after much family debate, Hines moved to Chicago, Illinois. The city was then the world's jazz capital, home to Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. He started in The Elite no. 2 Club but soon joined Carroll Dickerson's band with whom he also toured on the Pantages Theatre Circuit to Los Angeles and back.
Then, in the poolroom at Chicago's Musicians' Union on State & 39th, Earl Hines met Louis Armstrong. Hines was 21, Armstrong 24. They played together at the Union piano.[nb 4] Armstrong was astounded by Hines's avant-garde "trumpet-style" piano-playing, often using dazzlingly fast octaves so that on none-too-perfect upright pianos (and with no amplification) "they could hear me out front". Richard Cook writes in the Jazz Encyclopedia that:
... [Hines'] most dramatic departure from what other pianists were then playing was his approach to the underlying pulse: he would charge against the metre of the piece being played, accent off-beats, introduce sudden stops and brief silences. In other hands this might sound clumsy or all over the place but Hines could keep his bearings with uncanny resilience.
Armstrong and Hines became good friends and shared a car. Armstrong joined Hines in Carroll Dickerson's band at the Sunset Cafe. In 1927, this became Louis Armstrong's band under the musical direction of Hines. Later that year, Armstrong revamped his Okeh Records recording-only band, Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and replaced his wife Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano with Hines. Armstrong and Hines then recorded what are often regarded as some of the most important jazz records ever made.
... with Earl Hines arriving on piano, Armstrong was already approaching the stature of a concerto soloist, a role he would play more or less throughout the next decade, which makes these final small-group sessions something like a reluctant farewell to jazz's first golden age. Since Hines is also magnificent on these discs (and their insouciant exuberance is a marvel on the duet showstopper "Weather Bird") the results seem like eavesdropping on great men speaking almost quietly among themselves. There is nothing in jazz finer or more moving than the playing on "West End Blues", "Tight Like This", "Beau Koo Jack" and "Muggles".
The Sunset Cafe closed in 1927.[nb 5] Hines, Armstrong and drummer Zutty Singleton agreed that they would become "The Unholy Three" – they would "...stick together and not play for anyone unless the three of us were hired". But as 'Louis Armstrong and his Stompers' (with Hines as musical director and the premises rented in Hines' name), they ran into difficulties trying to establish their own venue, the Warwick Hall Club. Hines went briefly to New York and returned to find that Armstrong and Singleton had re-joined their now-rival Carroll Dickerson's band at the new The Savoy Ballroom in his absence,[nb 6] leaving Hines feeling "warm". When Armstrong and Singleton later asked him to join them with Dickerson at The Savoy Ballroom, Hines said, "No, you guys left me in the rain and broke the little corporation we had".
Hines joined clarinetist Jimmie Noone at The Apex, an after-hours speakeasy, playing from midnight to 6am, seven nights a week. In 1928, he recorded with Noone (14 sides), then again with Armstrong (for a total of 38 sides with Armstrong), and recorded his first piano solos late in 1928: eight for QRS Records in New York then seven for Okeh Records in Chicago, all except two his own compositions.
Hines moved in with Kathryn Perry (with whom he had recorded "Sadie Green The Vamp of New Orleans"). Hines said of Perry that, "She'd been at The Sunset too, in a dance act. She was a very charming, pretty girl. She had a good voice and played the violin. I had been divorced and she became my common-law wife. We lived in a big apartment and her parents stayed with us". Perry recorded several times with Hines, including "Body & Soul" in 1935. They stayed together till 1940 when Hines "divorced" her to marry Ann Jones Reed, but this was soon "indefinitely postponed". Hines then married Janie Moses in 1947 and they had two daughters, Janear (born 1950) and Tosca. Both of Hines' daughters were to die before him: Tosca in 1976 and Janear in 1981. Janie divorced him on June 14, 1979.
On December 28, 1928 (so on his 25th birthday and six weeks before the Saint Valentine's Day massacre) the always-immaculate Hines opened at Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe leading his own big band, the pinnacle of jazz ambition at the time. "All America was dancing", Hines said, and for the next 12 years and through the worst of the Great Depression and Prohibition, Hines' band was "The Orchestra" at The Grand Terrace. The Hines Orchestra – or 'Organization' as Hines preferred it – had up to 28 musicians and did three shows a night at The Grand Terrace, four shows every Saturday and sometimes Sundays. According to Stanley Dance, "Earl Hines and The Grand Terrace were to Chicago what Duke Ellington and The Cotton Club were to New York - but fierier."
The Grand Terrace was controlled by Al Capone, so Hines became Capone's "Mr Piano Man" with the Grand Terrace upright piano soon replaced by a white $3,000 Bechstein grand. Talking about those days Hines later said:
... Al [Capone] came in there one night and called the whole band and show together and said, "Now we want to let you know our position. We just want you people just to attend to your own business. We'll give you all the Protection in the world but we want you to be like the 3 monkeys: you hear nothing and you see nothing and you say nothing". And that's what we did. And I used to hear many of the things that they were going to do but I never did tell anyone. Sometimes the Police used to come in ... looking for a fall guy and say, "Earl what were they talking about?" ... but I said, "I don't know - no, you're not going to pin that on me," because they had a habit of putting the pictures of different people that would bring information in the newspaper and the next day you would find them out there in the lake somewhere swimming around with some chains attached to their feet if you know what I mean.
From The Grand Terrace, Hines and his band broadcast on "open mikes" over many years, sometimes seven nights a week, coast-to-coast across America – Chicago being well placed to deal with the U.S. live-broadcasting time-zone problem. Earl Hines' became the most broadcast band in America. Among his listeners were a young Nat "King" Cole and Jay McShann in Kansas City, who said his "real education came from Earl Hines. When 'Fatha' went off the air, I went to bed." But Hines' most significant "student" was Art Tatum.
The Hines band usually comprised 15-20 musicians on stage, occasionally up to 28. Among the band's many members were Wallace Bishop, Alvin Burroughs, Scoops Carry, Oliver Coleman, Bob Crowder, Thomas Crump, George Dixon, Julian Draper, Streamline Ewing, Ed Fant, Milton Fletcher, Walter Fuller, Dizzy Gillespie, Leroy Harris, Woogy Harris, Darnell Howard, Cecil Irwin, Harry 'Pee Wee' Jackson, Warren Jefferson, Budd Johnson, Jimmy Mundy, Ray Nance, Charlie Parker, Willie Randall, Omer Simeon, Cliff Smalls, Leon Washington, Freddie Webster, Quinn Wilson and Trummy Young.
Occasionally, Hines allowed other pianists to play as "relief" piano player which better allowed Hines to conduct his whole "Organization". Jess Stacy was one, Nat "King" Cole and Teddy Wilson were others (though Cliff Smalls was his favorite).
Each summer, Hines toured his whole band for three months, including through the South – the first black big-band to do so. Earl Hines explained, "[w]hen we traveled by train through the South, they would send a porter back to our car to let us know when the dining room was cleared, and then we would all go in together. We couldn't eat when we wanted to. We had to eat when they were ready for us."
In Duke Ellington's America, Harvey G Cohen writes:
... In 1931, Earl Hines and his Orchestra "were the first big Negro band to travel extensively through the South". Hines referred to it as an "invasion" rather than a "tour". Between a bomb exploding under their bandstage in Alabama (" ...we didn't none of us get hurt but we didn't play so well after that either") and numerous threatening encounters with the Police, the experience proved so harrowing that Hines in the 1960s recalled that, "You could call us the first Freedom Riders". For the most part, any contact with whites, even fans, was viewed as dangerous. Finding places to eat or stay overnight entailed a constant struggle. The only non-musical 'victory' that Hines claimed was winning the respect of a clothing-store owner who initially treated Hines with derision until it became clear that Hines planned to spend $85 on shirts, "which changed his whole attitude".
Recordings prior to the 1942 recording ban
Besides the previously mentioned piano solors recorded for QRS (1928) and OKeh (1928), in 1929 Hines signed to Victor and recorded a number of sides in 1929. In 1932, he signed with Brunswick and recorded with them through mid-1934 when he signed with Decca. He only recorded 3 sessions for Decca in 1934 and early 1935. He did not record again until February, 1937 when he signed with Vocalion. He recorded 4 sessions with them through March 1938. After another gap, he signed with Victor's Bluebird label in July 1939 and recorded prolifically right up the recording ban in mid-1942. Unfortunately, he did not record at all in 1930, 1931, and 1936.
The birth of bebop
It was from Hines that saxophonist Charlie Parker gained a big break, until he was fired for his "time-keeping" – by which Hines meant Parker's inability to show up on time despite Parker resorting to sleeping under the band stage in his attempts to do so. The Grand Terrace Cafe had closed suddenly in December 1940 with the manager, "Cigar-puffing Ed Fox", 'not to be found'. The 37-year-old Hines, always famously good to work for, took his band on the road full-time for the next 8 years,[nb 7] resisting renewed offers from Benny Goodman to join his band.
Several of the Hines band members were drafted to fight in World War II – a major problem.[nb 8] Six members were drafted in 1943 alone. As a result, on 19 August 1943, Hines had to cancel the rest of his Southern tour. He went to New York and hired a 'draft-proof' 12-piece all-women group, which lasted two months. Next, Hines expanded it into a 28-piece band (17 men, 11 women) including strings and French horn. Despite these war-time difficulties, Hines toured his bands coast-to-coast across America and was still able to take time out from his own band to front the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 when Duke fell ill.
It was during this time (and especially during the 1942–44 musicians' strike recording ban) that members of the Hines' band's late-night jam-sessions laid the seeds for the emerging new style in jazz, bebop. Duke Ellington was later to say that, "the seeds of bop were in Earl Hines's piano style", while Charlie Parker's biographer Ross Russell wrote:
... The Earl Hines Orchestra of 1942 had been infiltrated by the jazz revolutionaries. Each section had its cell of insurgents. The band's sonority bristled with flatted fifths, off triplets and other material of the new sound scheme. Fellow bandleaders of a more conservative bent warned Hines that he had recruited much too well and was sitting on a powder keg.
As early as 1940, saxophone player and arranger Budd Johnson had "re-written the book" for the Hines' band in a more modern style. Johnson and Billy Eckstine, Hines vocalist between 1939 and 1943, have been credited with helping to bring modern players into the Hines band in the transition between swing and bebop. Apart from Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, other Hines 'modernists' included Gene Ammons, Gail Brockman, Scoops Carry, Goon Gardner, Wardell Gray, Bennie Green, Benny Harris, Harry 'Pee-Wee' Jackson, Shorty McConnell, Cliff Smalls, Shadow Wilson and Sarah Vaughan, who replaced Eckstine as the band singer in 1943 and stayed for a year.
Dizzy Gillespie, in the Hines band at the time, said:
... People talk about the Hines band being 'the incubator of bop' and the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Hines band. But people also have the erroneous impression that the music was new. It was not. The music evolved from what went before. It was the same basic music. The difference was in how you got from here to here to here ... naturally each age has got its own shit.
The links to bebop remained close. Charlie Parker's discographer, among others, has argued that "Yardbird Suite", which Parker recorded with Miles Davis in March 1946, was in fact based on Hines' "Rosetta" which nightly served as the Hines band theme-tune.
Dizzy Gillespie described the Hines band, saying, "We had a beautiful, beautiful band with Earl Hines. He's a master and you learn a lot from him, self-discipline and organization." Charlie Parker, famously unreliable (according to Eckstine, "Charlie must have missed as many shows as he made") found learning that self-discipline and organization difficult. Fellow-saxophone player Scoops Carry reminded Parker, "Bird, it's still the best band in show business and the most modern". To which Parker supposedly replied, "It's a jail".
In July 1946, Hines received serious head injuries in a car crash near Houston which, despite an operation, affected his eyesight for the rest of his life. Back on the road again four months later, he continued to lead his big band for two more years. In 1947, Hines bought the biggest nightclub in Chicago, The El Grotto, but it soon foundered with Hines losing $30,000 ($362,816 today). The big-band era was over – Hines had had his for 20 years.
In early 1948, Hines joined up again with Armstrong in what became the "Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars" 'small-band'. It was not without its strains for Hines. A year later, Armstrong became the first jazz musician ever to appear on the cover of Time Magazine (on February 21, 1949). Armstrong was by then on his way to becoming an American icon, leaving Hines to feel he was now being used as only a sideman in comparison to his old friend. Armstrong said of the difficulties, mainly over billing, "Hines and his ego, ego, ego ...." but after 3 years and to Armstrong's annoyance, in 1951 Hines left the All-Stars.
Next, back as leader again, Hines took his own small combos around the States. He started with a markedly more modern line-up than the ageing "All Stars": Bennie Green, Art Blakey, Tommy Potter, Etta Jones. In 1954, he toured his then seven-piece group nationwide with the Harlem Globetrotters, but, at the start of the jazz-lean 1960s and old enough now to retire and take up bowling, Hines settled "home" in Oakland, California, with his wife and two young daughters, Janear and Tosca, opened a tobacconist's, and came close to giving up the profession.
Then, in 1964, thanks to Stanley Dance, Earl Hines' determined friend and unofficial manager, Hines was "suddenly rediscovered" following a series of 'recitals' at The Little Theatre in New York that Stanley Dance had cajoled him into. They were the first piano 'recitals' Hines had ever given. These 'recitals' caused a sensation. "What is there left to hear after you've heard Earl Hines?", asked The New York Times's John Wilson. Hines then won the 1966 "International Critics Poll" for Down Beat Magazine's "Hall of Fame". Down Beat also elected him the world's "No. 1 Jazz Pianist" in 1966 (and did so again five further times). Jazz Journal awarded his LPs of the year first and second in their overall poll and first, second and third in their piano category. Jazz voted him "Jazzman of the Year", voted him their no. 1 and no. 2 in their piano recordings category and he was on Johnny Carson's and Mike Douglas' TV shows.
From then until his death twenty years later, Hines recorded endlessly both solo and with contemporaries like Cat Anderson, Harold Ashby, Barney Bigard, Lawrence Brown, Dave Brubeck (they recorded duets in 1975), Jaki Byard (duets in 1972), Benny Carter, Buck Clayton, Cozy Cole, Wallace Davenport, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Vic Dickenson, Roy Eldridge, Duke Ellington (duets in 1966), Ella Fitzgerald, Panama Francis, Bud Freeman, Stan Getz,[nb 9] Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Gonsalves, Stephane Grappelli, Sonny Greer, Lionel Hampton, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Peanuts Hucko, Helen Humes, Budd Johnson, Jonah Jones, Max Kaminsky, Gene Krupa, Ellis Larkins, Marian McPartland (duets in 1970), Gerry Mulligan, Ray Nance, Oscar Peterson (duets in 1968), Russell Procope, Pee Wee Russell, Jimmy Rushing, Stuff Smith, Rex Stewart, Maxine Sullivan, Buddy Tate, Jack Teagarden, Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Venuti, Earle Warren, Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson (duets in 1965 & 1970), Jimmy Witherspoon, Jimmy Woode and Lester Young. Possibly more surprising were Alvin Batiste, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Teresa Brewer, Richard Davis, Elvin Jones, Etta Jones, The Inkspots, Peggy Lee, Helen Merrill, Charles Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Vi Redd, Betty Roché, Caterina Valente, Dinah Washington, and "Ditty Wah Ditty" with Ry Cooder.
Hines will be sixty-seven this year and his style has become involuted, rococo, and subtle to the point of elusiveness. It unfolds in orchestral layers and it demands intense listening. Despite the sheer mass of notes he now uses, his playing is never fatty. Hines may go along like this in a medium tempo blues. He will play the first two choruses softly and out of tempo, unreeling placid chords that safely hold the kernel of the melody. By the third chorus, he will have slid into a steady but implied beat and raised his volume. Then, using steady tenths in his left hand, he will stamp out a whole chorus of right-hand chords in between beats. He will vault into the upper register in the next chorus and wind through irregularly placed notes, while his left hand plays descending, on-the-beat, chords that pass through a forest of harmonic changes. (There are so many push-me, pull-you contrasts going on in such a chorus that it is impossible to grasp it one time through.) In the next chorus—bang!—up goes the volume again and Hines breaks into a crazy-legged double-time-and-a-half run that may make several sweeps up and down the keyboard and that are punctuated by offbeat single notes in the left hand. Then he will throw in several fast descending two-fingered glissandos, go abruptly into an arrhythmic swirl of chords and short, broken, runs and, as abruptly as he began it all, ease into an interlude of relaxed chords and poling single notes. But these choruses, which may be followed by eight or ten more before Hines has finished what he has to say, are irresistible in other ways. Each is a complete creation in itself, and yet each is lashed tightly to the next. Hines' sudden changes in dynamics, tempo, and texture are dramatic but not melodramatic; the ham lurking in the middle distance never gets any closer. And Hines is a perfervid pianist; he gives the impression that he has shut himself up completely within his instrument, that he is issuing chords and runs and glisses not merely through its keyboard and hammers and strings but directly from its soul.
Solo tributes to Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter were all put on record in the 1970s, sometimes on the 1904 12-legged Steinway (unique and famously ornate) given to him in 1969 by Scott Newhall, managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1974, now in his seventies, Hines recorded sixteen LPs. "A spate of solo recording meant that, in his old age, Hines was being comprehensively documented at last, and he rose to the challenge with consistent inspirational force". Between his 1964 "come-back" and up to when he died, Hines recorded over 100 LPs all over the world. Within the industry, he became legendary for going into a studio and coming out an hour-and-a-half later with a famously-unplanned solo LP behind him including discussion and coffee time - and ideally a brandy or two. Retakes were almost unheard of except when Hines wanted to try a tune again in some, often completely, "other way".
Pianist Lennie Tristano said of these recordings, "Earl Hines is the ONLY one of us capable of creating real jazz and real swing when playing all alone." To Horace Silver, "He has a completely unique style. No one can get that sound, no other pianist". Erroll Garner said, "When you talk about greatness, you talk about Art Tatum and Earl Hines".
From 1964 on, Hines often toured Europe, especially France. He toured South America in 1968 and then added Asia, Australia, Japan and, in 1966, the Soviet Union to his list of State Department-funded destinations. During his 6-week and 35-concert Soviet Union tour, the 10,000-seat Kiev Sports Palace was sold out. As a result, the Kremlin cancelled his Moscow and Leningrad concerts as being "too culturally dangerous".
Arguably still playing as well as he ever had,[nb 10] Hines displayed individualistic quirks (including grunts) in these performances. He now sometimes sang as he played, especially his own "They Didn't Believe I Could Do It—Neither Did I". In 1975, Hines was the subject of an hour-long television documentary film made by ATV (for Britain's commercial ITV channel), out-of-hours at the Blues Alley nightclub in Washington, DC. The New York Herald Tribune described it as "The greatest jazz film ever made".[page needed] In the film, Hines said, "The way I like to play is that ... I'm an explorer, if I might use that expression, I'm looking for something all the time ... almost like I'm trying to talk." He played solo at Duke Ellington's funeral, played solo in The White House (twice) and played solo for The Pope. Of this acclaim Hines said, "Usually they give people credit when they're dead. I got my flowers while I was living".
Hines' last show took place in San Francisco a few days before he died in Oakland. As he had wished, his Steinway had a Christie's auction for the benefit of gifted low-income music students, still bearing its silver plaque:
- "presented by jazz lovers from all over the world. this piano is the only one of its kind in the world and expresses the great genius of a man who has never played a melancholy note in his lifetime on a planet that has often succumbed to despair".
... As he matured through the 1920s, he simplified the stride "orchestral piano", eventually arriving at a prototypical swing style. The right hand no longer developed syncopated patterns around pivot notes (as in ragtime) or between-the-hands figuration (as in stride) but instead focused on a more directed melodic line, often doubled at the octave with phrase-ending tremolos. This line was called the "trumpet" right hand because of its markedly hornlike character but in fact the general trend toward a more linear style can be traced back through stride and Jelly Roll Morton to late ragtime from 1915 to 1920.
Hines himself described meeting Louis Armstrong:
Louis looked at me so peculiar. So I said, "Am I making the wrong chords?" And he said, "No, but your style is like mine". So I said, "Well, I wanted to play trumpet but it used to hurt me behind my ears so I played on the piano what I wanted to play on the trumpet". And he said, "No, no, that's my style, that's what I like."
I was curious and wanted to know what the chords were made of. I would begin to play like the other instruments. But in those days we didn't have amplification, so the singers used to use megaphones and they didn't have grand-pianos for us to use at the time – it was an upright. So when they gave me a solo, playing single fingers like I was doing, in those great big halls they could hardly hear me. So I had to think of something so I could cut through the big-band. So I started to use what they call 'trumpet-style' – which was octaves. Then they could hear me out front and that's what changed the style of piano playing at that particular time.
Pianist Teddy Wilson wrote of Hines' style:
... Hines was both a great soloist and a great rhythm player. He has a beautiful powerful rhythmic approach to the keyboard and his rhythms are more eccentric than those of Art Tatum or Fats Waller. When I say eccentric, I mean getting away from straight 4/4 rhythm. He would play a lot of what we now call 'accent on the and beat'. This is the beat that comes between the 4/4 quarter note beats. Hines accented it by starting a note between the 4/4 beats. He would do this with great authority and attack. It was a subtle use of syncopation, playing on the in-between beats or what I might call and beats: one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and. The and between "one-two-three-four" is implied, When counted in music, the and becomes what are called eighth notes. So you get eight notes to a bar instead of four, although they're spaced out in the time of four. Hines would come in on those and beats with the most eccentric patterns that propelled the rhythm forward with such tremendous force that people felt an irresistible urge to dance or tap their feet or otherwise react physically to the rhythm of the music. All great players have this but Hines has a very marked gift for it. I have seen him play solo at the Regal Theatre in Chicago and, after only a few moments, he had the whole audience clapping their hands in time to his music and he was playing the piano alone on that vast stage with no rhythm section to help him. He had such a beautiful approach to playing rhythmic piano that he could easily move an audience. Hines is very intricate in his rhythm patterns: very unusual and original and there is really nobody like him. That makes him a giant of originality. He could produce improvised piano solos which could cut through to perhaps 2,000 dancing people just like a trumpet or a saxophone could.
The 2009 book Jazz says of the Hines style of the time:
...To make [himself] audible, [Hines] developed an ability to improvise in tremolos (the speedy alternation of two or more notes, creating a pianistic version of the brass man's vibrato) and octaves or tenths: instead of hitting one note at a time with his right hand, he hit two and with vibrantly percussive force – his reach was so large that jealous competitors spread the ludicrous rumor that he had had the webbing between his fingers surgically removed.
Of Hines' later style, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz says of Hines' 1965 style:
... [Hines] uses his left hand sometimes for accents and figures that would only come from a full trumpet section. Sometimes he will play chords that would have been written and played by five saxophones in harmony. But he is always the virtuoso pianist with his arpeggios, his percussive attack and his fantastic ability to modulate from one song to another as if they were all one song and he just created all those melodies during his own improvisation.
Later still, then in his seventies and after a number solo recordings, Hines himself said:
I'm an explorer if I might use that expression. I'm looking for something all the time. And oft-times I get lost. And people that are around me a lot know that when they see me smiling, they know I'm lost and I'm trying to get back. But it makes it much more interesting because then you do things that surprise yourself. And after you hear the recording, it makes you a little bit happy too because you say, "Oh, I didn't know I could do THAT!"
Hines' first-ever recording was, apparently, made on October 3, 1923 at Richmond, Indiana, when he was aged 19. Records commercially available as new, as of March 2012, are shown emboldened in the lists below.
The 1930s, classic jazz and the swing era:
- Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines: inc. "Weatherbird", "Muggles", "Tight Like This", "West End Blues" : Columbia 1928: reissued many times inc. as The Smithsonian Collection MLP 2012
- Jimmie Noone & Earl Hines: "At the Apex Club": Decca 1928: reissued
- Earl Hines Solo: 14 of his own compositions: QRS & OKeh: 1928/9: reissued many times (see below)
- Earl Hines Collection: Piano Solos 1928-40: OKeh/Brunswick/Bluebird: Collectors Classics
- That's a Plenty, Quadromania series 1928-1947 Membran, four CDs, 2006, an easily available collection
- Deep Forest, ca. 1932-1933: HEP
- 'Swingin' Down, 1932-1934: HEP
- Harlem Lament, 1933-1934, 1937-1938: Columbia
- Earl Hines - South Side Swing 1934-1935: Decca
- Earl Hines - The Grand Terrace Band: RCA Victor Vintage Series
- The Indispensable Earl Hines: Vols 1, 2, 1939-1940, Jazz Tribune/BMG
- The Indispensable Earl Hines: Vols 3, 4, 1939-1942, 1945, Jazz Tribune/BMG
- Earl Hines & The Duke's Men: (with Ellington side-men) (1st 1944): reissued Delmark 1994
- Piano man: Earl Hines, his piano and his orchestra: 1939-1942, RCA Bluebird
- The Indispensable Earl Hines: Vols. 5, 6, 1944, 1964, 1966, Jazz Tribune/BMG
- Earl Fatha Hines and His Orchestra: 1945-1951, Limelight 15 766
- Classics, 1947-1949 (includes Eddie South) Classics Records
After 1948 - and therefore after Big Band era:
- Louis Armstrong All Stars: Live in Zurich 18 October 1949: Montreux Jazz Label
- Louis Armstrong & The All Stars: Decca 1950 & 1951: reissued
- Earl Hines: Paris One Night Stand: Verve/Emarcy France 1957
- The Real Earl Hines: (1st "Rediscovery" concert at Little Theatre, NY, 1964) Focus & Collectibles Jazz Classics: reissued
- Earl Hines: The Legendary Little Theatre Concert (2nd "Rediscovery" concert): Muse 1964
- Earl Hines: Blues in Thirds: solo: Black Lion 1965
- Earl Hines: '65 Solo - The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions: Black & Blue 1965
- Earl Hines: Fatha's Hands - Americans Swinging in Paris EMI 1965
- Earl Hines: Hine's Tune: (live in France with Ben Webster, Don Byas, Roy Eldridge, Stuff Smith, Jimmy Woode & Kenny Clarke): Wotre Music/Esoldun 1965: reissued
- Once Upon a Time (with Ellington side-men): Verve 1966
- Jazz from a Swinging Era (with All-Star group in Paris): Fontana 1967
- Earl Hines & Jimmy Rushing: Blues & Things 1967
- Earl Hines: At Home: solo (on his own Steinway): Delmark 1969
- Earl Hines: My Tribute to Louis: solo: Audiophile 1971 (recorded two weeks after Armstrong's death)
- Earl Hines plays Duke Ellington: vols 1 & 2: solo: New World 1971-1975
- Earl Hines: Hines plays Hines: The Australian Sessions: solo: Swaggie 1972
- Earl Hines & Jaki Byard: Duet!: Verve/MPS 1972
- Earl Hines: Tour de Force & Tour de Force Encore: solo: Black Lion 1972
- Earl Hines: Live at the New School: solo: Chiarascuro 1973
- Earl Hines: A Monday Date: reissues of Hines' 15 1928/1929 QRS & OKEH solo recordings: Milestone 1973
- Earl Hines: The Quintessential Recording Session: solo: Chiaroscuro 1973 (remakes of his eight 1928 solo QRS piano recordings)
- Earl Hines: The Quintessential Continued: solo: Chiaroscuro 1973 (remakes of his seven 1928/9 solo OKEH piano recordings)
- Earl Hines/Stephane Grappelli duets, The Giants: Black Lion Records 1974
- Earl Hines/Joe Venuti duets: Hot Sonatas: Chiaroscuro 1975
- Earl 'Fatha' Hines: The Father of Modern Jazz Piano (five LPs boxed): three LPs solo (on Schiedmeyer grand) and two LPs with Budd Johnson, Bill Pemberton, Oliver Jackson: MF Productions 1977
- Earl Hines: In New Orleans: solo: Chiarascuro 1977
- An Evening With Earl Hines: with Tiny Grimes, Hank Young, Bert Dahlander and Marva Josie: Vogue VDJ-534, 1977
- Earl 'Fatha' Hines plays Hits he Missed: (inc Monk, Zawinul, Silver): Direct to Disc M & K RealTime 1978
(It would seem that Hines' last-ever recording was on December 29, 1981.)
- The Complete Master Jazz Piano Series: 13 Hines solo numbers: Mosaic MD4 140 (with Jay McShann, Teddy Wilson, Cliff Smalls, etc.) 1969-1972
- Controversy persists over the origins of the name "Fatha". The most common account is that a radio announcer (some say Ted Pearson), possibly after Hines had accused him of being drunk, announced, slurringly, "Here comes 'Fatha' Hines thru the deep forest with his children", "Deep Forest" being the band's signature tune. (Cook 2005[page needed]) Others have suggested it was because Hines had "... given birth to a style – more than a style, a virtual language – of jazz piano". (Epstein 1999)[page needed]
- Hines quotes his year of birth as 1905. (Dance 1983, p. 7) Most sources agree 1903 is correct.
- Hines' father was a foreman in the coal-docks. His mother had died when he was three but Hines was always very appreciative of his upbringing in a 12-room house with his father, his stepmother ["who did a great job"], his grandparents, two cousins, two uncles and an aunt. There was a smallholding at the back with two cows, pigs, chickens. "We needed to buy very little so far as food was concerned, because we raised nearly everything that we ate." (Dance 1983, p. 7)
- Also, "According to Hines, he was sitting there playing 'The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else' when Armstrong walked in and began to play along". (Collier 1983, p. 158)
- At various time Hines played much of Chicago's "Bright-Light" district: The Elite Club, The Regal Theatre, The Apex Club, The Platinum Lounge, The Vendome Theatre, The Grand Terrace, The New Grand Terrace, The Sunset Café, The Savoy Ballroom, Warwick Hall. See key to map of Chicago South Side jazz c.1915-1930 at University of Chicago Jazz Archive (The Leon Lewis map).
- The Jazz Age Chicago described the venue:
The Savoy Ballroom opened for business on Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, 1927. With more than a half-acre of dancing space, the Savoy had a capacity of over four thousand persons. The ballroom's name recalled the enormously popular and highly regarded dance palace of the same name in New York's Harlem, which had opened a little more than a year earlier. ...
In its review of the Savoy, the Defender, Chicago's leading black newspaper, extolled the modern features of the new ballroom: "Never before have Chicagoans seen anything quite as lavish as the Savoy ballroom. Famous artists have transformed the building into a veritable paradise, each section more beautiful than the other. The feeling of luxury and comfort one gets upon entering is quite ideal and homelike, and the desire to stay and dance and look on is generated with each moment of your visit. Every modern convenience is provided. In addition to a house physician and a professional nurse for illness or accident, there is an ideal lounging room for ladies and gentlemen, luxuriously furnished, a boudoir room for milady's makeup convenience, an ultra modern checking room which accommodates 6,000 hats and coats individually hung so that if one comes in with his or her coat crushed or wrinkled it is in better condition when leaving." Such modern amenities not only lent an "atmosphere of refinement" to the ballroom that reflected the class pretensions of upwardly mobile black Chicagoans, but also decreased the likelihood that the Savoy would draw fire from those advocating the closure of disorderly dance establishments. An adjacent 1,000-space parking lot also likely appealed to more prosperous black Chicagoans.
The music never stopped at the Savoy. From 1927 until 1940, two bands were engaged every night to permit continuous dancing. When one band took a break, another was on hand to play on. During these years, the Savoy was open seven days a week, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Although most of the Savoy's patrons were black, growing numbers of white Chicagoans visited the Savoy to hear and dance to the great jazz bands of the day. ("Savoy Ballroom". Jazz Age Chicago. Retrieved 1 June 2014.)
- For their astonishing coast-coast schedule over the next eight years, see Dance 1983, pp. 299–334.
- Hines himself was only just outside draftable age. On 5 December 1942, a Presidential Executive Order changed the age range for the Draft from 21-45 to 18-38 (3 weeks after the Order, on December 28 Hines was 39) and ended voluntary enlistment. See Conscription in the United States.
- Hines played on a New Orleans-Cuba cruise with Getz, Gillespie & Ry Cooder in 1977 and performed there with Cuban musicians in the early days of the USA & Cuba "thaw".
- Charles Fox writing in The Essential Jazz Records, Vol 1 said of Tour de Force (solo recording from 1972), "The pianist was still at his dazzling best when he made this LP at the age of 69. This is Hines in excelsis, sounding as good as at any time in his long career". (p. 487) Writing about Hines' July 3, 1974 Concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Derek Jewell wrote in Britain's Sunday Times: "The packed house must have regarded his opening unaccompanied solo as one of the greatest jazz experiences of their lives." Hines was then 70 years old.
- "PBS: Ken Burns Jazz". PBS.org quoting The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-03-24.
- Gillespie & Fraser 2009, p. 486.
- Stanley Dance: liner notes to "Earl Hines at Home": Delmark DD 212. As well as The World of Earl Hines and The World of Duke Ellington, Dance also wrote The World of Count Basie (Da Capo Press, 1985), ISBN 0-306-80245-7
- Balliett 1998, p. 100.
- Dance 1983, p. 9. Hines said he "had a problem reaching the pedals".
- Dance 1983, p. 20.
- Palmer, Robert (August 28, 1981). "Pop Jazz; Fatha Hines Stoming and Chomping On at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Nairn, Charlie (Director) (1975). Earl "Fatha" Hines (TV Documentary). ATV Television. See below for more details.
- Taylor 2005, p. xvii. He took lessons from Classical piano teacher, Mr. Von Holz.
- Dance 1983, p. 14.
- Dance 1983, p. 10.
- Dance 1983, p. 18. "I remember that I really went for their apple dumplings".
- Dance 1983, p. 133.
- Balliett 1998, p. 101.
- Dance 1983, p. 293.
- Starr Phonography Company ad. November 10, 1923.
- Dance 1983, p. 45.
- Cook 2005.[page needed]
- Dance 1983, p. 47.
- Cook & Morton 2004, p. 46.
- Dance 1983, p. 54.
- Dance 1983, p. 55.
- Dance 1983, p. 65.
- Dance 1983, p. 298.
- Dance, Stanley. Sleeve note to Earl Hines - South Side Swing 1934/5.
- Dance 1983, p. 61.
- Dance 1983, p. 63.
- Epstein 1999, p. Chapter 1.[page needed] "Every kid pianist in the Midwest copied Earl Hines. Little Nat Cole learned to play jazz piano by listening to Gatemouth [Hines] on the radio. And when the radio blew a tube the boy would sneak out of his apartment on Prairie Avenue, run several blocks through the dark, and stand outside the Grand Terrace nightclub, under the elevated train, and listen to Earl's piano live from there. It inspired him to precocious mastery of jazz."
- Dance 1983, pp. 57–8. According to pianist Teddy Wilson and saxophonist Eddie Barefield, "Art Tatum's favorite jazz piano player was Earl Hines. He [Tatum] used to buy all of Earl's records and would improvise on them. He'd play the record but he'd improvise over what Earl was doing ... course, when you heard Art play you didn't hear nothing of anybody but Art. But he got his ideas from Earl's style of playing - but Earl never knew that".
- Allen, Steve. "The Return of Jess Stacy." unknown newspaper, undated. Southeast Missouri State University Special Collections and Archives, The Jess Stacy Collection
- Dance 1983, pp. 261–72, inc. photos.
- Pareles, Jon. "Earl Hines, 77, Father of Modern Jazz Piano, Dies". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Baldwin, James (October 16, 1977). "Last of the Great Masters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Cohen 2011, p. 130.
- Russell 1996, p. 150.
- Dance 1983, p. 298
- Dance 1970. See, for instance, p. 136 – Ray Nance: "Earl was wonderful to work for ..."; p. 179 – Willie Cook: "Earl used psychology. He had everybody loving that band".
- "Father Hines Loses Plenty of Children," Variety, August 18, 1943
- Dance 1983, p. 301.
- "Hines Forms New Band with 12 Girl Members". Baltimore Afro-American. September 4, 1943. p. 16.
- Doerschuk 2001, p. 36.
- See Dance 1983, pp. 298–302 for detailed chronology.
- Dance 1983, p. 90. "Ellington had a way of saying serious things about music casually but ... then I realized [Ellington] had in mind the revolution Hines effected in the function of the jazz pianist's left hand".
- Russell 1996, p. 146.
- Dance 1983, p. 260.
- See also Williams 1989, p. 203.
- Komara, Parker's discographer, says, "Track 2 Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker): 32 measures AABA chorus, based on the chords of "Rosetta" (Earl Hines): key of C 4/4 meter" with a further page [p. 67] of detail. "The piece dates back to Parker's tenure with Jay McShann in 1940-1942 when it was known as "What Price Love" as well as "Yardbird Suite". The harmonic model is "Rosetta" composed by Earl Hines and Henri Woode. Of the four takes waxed by Parker for Dial, only the first and last survive". (Komara 1998, 122). Reissued as 'Charlie Parker on Dial': Spotlite SPJ-CD 4-101:The Complete Sessions CD 1993 [also on LP 1970, Spotlite LP101 Vol I]
- Gillespie & Fraser 2009, pp. 175–6.
- Dance 1983, p. 302.
- "Earl Hines biography." allmusic.com
- Dance 1983, p. 304.
- Dance 1983, p. 99.
- Collier 1983, p. 313.
- Stanley Dance: liner notes to Earl Hines at Home: Delmark DD 212.
- John S. Wilson, New York Times, March 14, 1964.
- "Spontaneous Improvisations" and "The Grand Terrace Band" and "Spontaneous Improvisations", "The Real Earl Hines" and "Fatha.""
- Clarke, Donald (1989, 2005). Hines, Earl. MusicWeb Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Retrieved August 1, 2006.
- Balliett 2000, p. 361.
- Cook & Morton 2004, p. 781.
- See, for instance, producer Hank O'Neal's sleeve notes to Earl Hines in New Orleans, 1977 [solo]: Chiaroscuro CR(D) 200.
- Dance 1983, p. 5. A typical example of this is the three alternative and dramatically different versions of "Rose Room" that Hines recorded over less than half an hour in Paris in 1965 (all three on Earl Hines Fatha's Hands).
- The Daily Telegraph [Britain] obituary April 23 1983
- Dance 1983, p. 306.
- "Reds Change Hines Tour". Washington Post. July 26, 1966.
- Time Magazine, August 16, 1966.
- The Milwaukee Journal April 22 1983.
- Rodríguez, José (December 8, 2009). (UC Berkeley News). Missing or empty
- Doerschuk 2001, p. 28.
- Evergreen Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, California at findagrave.com USA says "He Enriched the World with his Music".
- Kirchner 2000, pp. 171–2.
- Wilson 1996, p. 103.
- Giddins & DeVeaux 2009, p. 154.
- Feather & Gitler 2007, p. 319.
- "Falling", with Deppe's Serenaders, source: Tom Lord, The Jazz Discography
- At São Paulo, Brazil, when Hines was aged 78: One O'clock Jump with Eric Schneider and the 150 Band on "Fatha's Birthday" (source: Tom Lord, The Jazz Discography)
- Balliett, Whitney (1998), American Musicians II: Seventy-Two Portraits in Jazz, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-512116-3
- Balliett, Whitney (2000), Collected Works: A Journal of Jazz 1954-2000, London: Granta Books, ISBN 1-86207-465-8
- Basie, Count & Murray, Albert (2002): Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography Of Count Basie. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306811073/ISBN 978-0306811074
- Berliner, Paul F. (1994). Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-04381-9
- Cohen, Harvey G. (2011), Duke Ellington's America, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226112632
- Collier, James Lincoln (1983), Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-503727-8
- Cook, Richard (2005), Jazz Encyclopedia, London: Penguin, ISBN 978-0-14-102646-6
- Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2004), The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th ed.), London: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-101416-4
- Dance, Stanley (1970), The World of Duke Ellington, New York: Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-81015-8
- Dance, Stanley (1983), The World of Earl Hines, New York: Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80182-5
- Dempsey, Peter (2001). Earl Hines. Naxos Jazz Legends. Retrieved July 23, 2006.
- Doerschuk, Robert L. (2001), 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano, San Francisco: Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-656-4
- Downbeat (2009). The Great Jazz Interviews: ed. Frank Alkyer & Ed Enright. Hal Leonard Books. ISBN 978-1-4234-6384-9
- Epstein, Daniel Mark (1999), Nat King Cole, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-21912-5
- Feather, Leonard (1960). The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Horizon Press. ISBN 0-8180-1203-X
- Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira, eds. (2007), The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195320008
- Giddins, Gary; DeVeaux, Scott (2009), Jazz, New York: W.W. Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-06861-0
- Gillespie, Dizzy; Fraser, Al (2009), To Be, or Not ... to Bop, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0816665478
- Harrison, Max, Fox, Charles & Thacker, Eric (1984). The Essential Jazz Records Vol 1. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80326-7
- Earl Hines. World Book Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 23, 2006.
- Earl "Fatha" Hines. The Red Hot Jazz Archive. Retrieved July 23, 2006.
- Kirchner, Bill, ed. (2000), The Oxford Companion to Jazz, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-518359-7
- Komara, Edward M (1998). The Dial Recordings of Charlie Parker: A Discography. Greenwood Press, Westport. ISBN 978-031329168
- Lester, James (1994), Too Marvelous for Words: The Life & Genius of Art Tatum, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508365-2
- Palmer, Robert (1981). Pop Jazz; Fatha Hines Stom[p]ing and Chomping on at 75. The New York Times, August 28, 1981. Retrieved from The New York Times, July 30, 2006, ISBN 0-8050-7068-0
- Ratliff, Ben (2002). The New York Times Essential Library: Jazz. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0-8050-7068-0
- The Rough Guide to Jazz (2004). 3rd edition. Earl Hines, pp. 262–263. Rough Guides. ISBN 1-84353-256-5
- Russell, Ross (1996), Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker, New York: Da Capo Press, ISBN 978-0-306-80679-7
- Schuller, Gunther (1991). The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945, pp. 263–292. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507140-9
- Simon, George T. (1974). The Big Bands. Macmillan.
- Taylor, Jeffrey, ed. (2005), Earl "Fatha" Hines: Selected Piano Solos, 1928-41, Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, ISBN 0-89579-580-9
- Taylor, Jeffrey (2002). Earl Hines and 'Rosetta'. Current Musicology: Special Issue, A Commemorative Festschrift in Honor of Mark Tucker, pp. 71–73 (Spring 2001-Spring 2002).
- Taylor, Jeffrey (2002). Life With Fatha. I.S.A.M. Newsletter 30 (Fall 2000).
- Taylor, Jeffrey (1998). Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, and 'Weather Bird'. The Musical Quarterly 82 (Spring 1998).
- Williams, Martin T. (1989), Jazz in Its Time, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-505459-8
- Wilson, Teddy (1996), Teddy Wilson Talks Jazz, London: Cassell, ISBN 0304336106
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Earl Hines.|
- Earl Hines at Music of the United States of America (MUSA)
- Video: Earl "Fatha" Hines. One-hour TV documentary, produced and directed by Charlie Nairn. Filmed at Blues Alley jazz club in Washington, D.C. for UK ATV Television in 1975.
[Original 16mm film, plus out-takes of additional tunes, archived in British Film Institute Library at BFI.org. Also at ITVStudios.com. DVD copies available from the University of California-Berkeley's Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library (which holds The Earl Hines Collection/Archive). Also at University of Chicago's Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University and at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Libraries. See also jazzonfilm.com/documentaries
- Earl Hines - Pittsburgh Music History