Talk:Earl Hines

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First person[edit]

Earl Hines was the first person to attend in his own orchestra discography: A History of Jazz Before 1930. Earl Kenneth Hines contains over more than 1,000 songs from this era, making real audio. Hines was born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. (talk) 03:36, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Need sources[edit]

There's been a lot of work done on this article recently, but it lists absolutely no sources. Please consider adding sources! -- Rick Block (talk) 01:32, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Added a couple of sources[edit]

I contributed little to this particular article, but since I easily found a couple of references to Hines, I have added them. They'll establish his notability for those who aren't familiar with him and are far better than having nothing.--Alan W 02:21, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for adding these. The real point is that the specific facts in this article are supposed to be verifiable and from a reliable source. If you have these sources available, could I ask you to review the specific facts and see if they are mentioned in the sources you named? The next time I get to the library, I'll try to find something as well. I have liner notes from CD's, but published books are far better. Thanks. -- Rick Block (talk) 03:50, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I added another source from the Web. I don't have enough of the right published books around, nor the time to find them in libraries right now. I also went through the article and cleaned up odds and ends. I can see why you are calling for more sources, Rick: the suggestion that the word "jazz" was "unknown" at the beginning of the Twenties is clearly incorrect when you think that The Original Dixieland Jazz Band made very popular recordings under that name in 1917! Also, Hines would not have referred to his band as the "Organisation", even informally, since that is the British spelling! (All right, it was spoken, presumably in that live interview that Cnairn did, but given that Hines was American it still didn't seem right unchanged.) And if Hines was at the "height of his powers" in 1928, how could his best recordings have been made in the Seventies? And so on. I changed the wording in such cases just far enough to avoid blatant self-contradiction and that sort of thing. Also regularized punctuation and such. Probably could use more cleaning, but I think it's better than it was. By the way, Hines is an old favorite of mine as well. He should be remembered more widely than he is today. We all do this as a labor of love! --Alan W 04:52, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

You're right, Alan W and it is better [thank you!]. I now see I was being sloppy. I can rember asking Hines what he thought "jazz" was and he said [something like/I'd need to check], "Look, I was playing piano before the word jazz was even invented" which, whether it is precisely true date-wise or not - how early a year might we be talking about? - was how he felt/saw it. He never, I think, saw himself particularly as a "jazz" musician - just as a "guy who played the piano" and, absolutely clearly, a guy whose primary job it was to put "bums on seats" - just as many as possible. That's what the "trumpet-style" was from his point of view: "so they could hear me out front" = bums on seats to him. God bless 'im, he was GREAT - deserves our labo[u!]rs of love! [The basic Earl Hines source must be [England's!] Stanley Dance's "The World of Earl Hines" a fat vol. from something like 1980. Dance became Hines's sort of voluntary [unpaid I think] manager after he [Dance] organised Hines' great 1974 ... there you/I go again ... 1964 New York "come-back".

If you have a copy of the Stanley Dance book, please verify that what is being added is actually in this book. The criteria for inclusion in Wikipedia is Wikipedia:Verifiability. Anything not verifiable should actually be deleted (whether or not it's true in an absolute sense). Wikipedia is distinctly not the place for first person remembrances. -- Rick Block (talk) 04:01, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
"At the start of the 1920s - when the word "jazz" was just beginning to be known - Hines was playing piano professionally around Pittsburgh". My Oxford Dictionary suggest 1918 as a first date for the word "Jazz". Hines was [at least] 15 by then, possibly a bit more. Doesn't it sound as if he may have been right when he said/felt that he had been playing piano since "before the word jazz was even invented"? -- Cnairn talk 14.53 16 july 2006
Right or wrong doesn't really matter if this is a quote that can be referenced from a reliable (and available), i.e. verifiable, source. I'm not sure I'm getting the point across. Wikipedia is not the place to include quotes or even simple facts obtained from a transcript of an unpublished interview. This amounts to original research, which is explicitly not allowed (see Wikipedia:No original research). BTW - if you have any photographs you took that you're willing to upload, that would be great.
On the point about verifiability - one example is the second paragraph of the article which currently says:
Earl Hines was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. His father was a brass band cornetist and his mother a church organist. Hines at first intended to follow his father's example and play cornet but "blowing" hurt him behind the ears - while the piano didn't.
If we look at this fact by fact, the facts should all be available from some source that is cited, the more specific the fact the greater the need for citation. I assume that Hines was born in Dequesne is widely known and pretty much any biographical reference would have this fact (the Dance book, perhaps). That his father was a brass band cornetist and his mother a church organist should have some sort of reference. Is this in the Dance book? Is it from a website somewhere? If this said his father was a blacksmith and his mother was a choir director what is the source that would be used to dispute this? Similarly, the sentence that says he intended to follow his father's example and play cornet but it hurt him behind the ears must have come from somewhere. How can I check this? Where did this come from? It's great detail, but without a reference I have no way to verify it.
-- Rick Block (talk) 16:31, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

More sources[edit]

This article as it stands raises many questions. I don't mean only those raised by Rick Block. I mean questions about research in general, verifiability, reliability, and so on. I have found that sources about entertainers (in a broad sense) are especially unreliable. One problem in that regard has less to do with the published sources than with the entertainers themselves. Louis Armstrong, for example, always gave his birth date as July 4, 1900. In this case he didn't know it himself; long after his death it was determined to have been August 4, 1901. Hines's own birth year was long assumed to be 1905 and only later confirmed to be 1903. In that case perhaps there was some vanity involved that caused Hines himself to fudge the year. But the year he gave was taken as absolute truth for a long time and published in "reliable" sources. Even in the history of this Wikipedia article we can trace a teetering back and forth about that point.

Anyhow, doing the best I can to help out here, I have added two more sources, one of them printed, both of which confirm the father-cornetist, mother-organist assertions. Unfortunately I don't own Dance's book, but eventually hope to have time to track it down in a library or bookstore.

One more point about reliability. Even the most respectable-sounding sources may be dead wrong and display obvious irreconcilable differences. If Cnairn's Oxford dictionary gives 1918 as the origin date of "jazz", that is clearly wrong, given my earlier-mentioned reference to The Original Dixieland Jazz Band's use of the word in the title of its 1917 recordings. My Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary gives 1909, but who knows? It could have been floating around a few years earlier in the brothels of New Orleans.

The assertion about Hines's starting on cornet but finding that "blowing hurt him behind the ears" I cannot find anywhere; I will let Cnairn answer that point, since he was the one who added that claim, as I recall. --Alan W 22:01, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Again, I fear I am perhaps being misunderstood. I'm not challenging anything in this article as being untrue, just pointing out that everything in any Wikipedia article is (by policy) supposed to be from a verifiable source, which basically gets Wikipedia out of the "what is the truth" sort of argument (as long as it's true the source says the same thing the article claims it says). If what is said is traceable to the source it came from, and multiple sources disagree, it's simple enough to add something like Although many sources list Hines birth year as 1905 (for example, source 1, source 2, and source 3), he was actually born in 1903 (citing a reference). This is really more of style thing than anything else. Statements that are highly specific and detailed should generally cite the source. For an example of what I'm talking about see any of the articles recently designated as a Wikipedia:Featured Article, e.g. Georg Forster (not a musician, but I suspect you'll get the general idea) or Mariah Carey (which, IMO, takes the referencing thing a little too far). -- Rick Block (talk) 22:34, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and BTW, the only articles about jazz musicians that are featured articles at this point are Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. I'd love to see Earl Hines, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Ray Brown, and many more become featured articles. One thing that's critical is proper sourcing. -- Rick Block (talk) 22:44, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Rick, I'm not sure you are understanding me either. I'm not arguing against the requirement to back up anything that is written. I was just trying to point out how difficult it can be, as well as how, even if you think you have found a reliable source, it might turn out not to be! That doesn't mean I'm saying that there is no need for sources. It is precisely with respect to sources that I am trying to help. As it happens, my contributions to this article have been minimal. Most recently, I've been trying to help in the effort to bring in enough sources so that, eventually, everything written by others over the course of years will be verifiable in one or another of those sources. Right now I don't have the time to research all of this, or I probably would have had everything substantiated, and would have expanded this article considerably by this time. --Alan W 00:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree it certainly takes time, and thanks very much for your efforts so far. I don't think we're arguing about anything. I'm hearing you say "it's difficult to find sources that are reliable" (in the sense that what they say matches the "truth"). I'm saying if we attribute what is said in the article to the sources it came from, it doesn't really matter whether it's true (which may seem sort of perverse). It's clearly better if what is said in the article is true, but it's sufficient for it to be an accurate restatement or quote of what's in some source. I'll take this a little farther - I think it's actually better to have something in the article that's not true but reflects what's in a cited source than something that is true but has no citation. BTW - I've looked on Amazon and the Dance book is available (used) - and he has similar books on the Count and the Duke. I may pick them all up. -- Rick Block (talk) 01:02, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Then you may be the one who gets the chance to link all the assertions to sources before the rest of us! As for the rest of what you say, you certainly make some good points. Much of what I said above amounts to my thinking out loud about the difficulty of getting reliable sources in this area. But I agree, this all has to be verifiable somewhere. I'm a bit uneasy, though, about having something from a cited source that is not true. In most cases, we wouldn't know that, so we are working in good faith. But sometimes, speaking for myself, if I know a field well, I can sense that a cited source is very likely not accurate but can't prove it. In such cases, I would probably rather do without having that "fact" in the article at all. But, again, just thinking out loud about a gray area. Eventually hopefully we will be able to back up everything in this Earl Hines article. (About such assertions as "blowing hurt him behind the ears," well, I will leave that to Cnairn to deal with, since he added it and I certainly haven't seen that in any sources I've checked. --Alan W 02:12, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Reference has already been made above to reliability (of sources, dictionaries, etc.) and to the possibility that the word 'jazz' was already in use long before it was actually written down - from whence it might eventually end up in a dictionary. It is well-known that words are on the street (or in the mouths of speakers) for many years before actually being 'accepted' by the Establishment, i.e. included in a dictionary. If the word in question were to have connotations unacceptable to the powers-that-be, it would be excluded - intentionally - for even longer. Regs. Technopat 21:28, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Another source[edit]

Found and added another source, this time a major one. Among other things, it supports the contention--though not quoting Hines's exact words (which perhaps only Cnairn captured for posterity)--that Hines briefly tried playing the cornet before switching permanently to the piano. --Alan W 15:58, 22 July 2006 (UTC)


If anyone has a photo of Hines they're willing to upload (and release under GFDL), please do so! Thanks. -- Rick Block (talk) 17:33, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


Whoever [Rick Block?/Alan W?] has been working on this Hines page recently and setting it all out so properly and faultlessly clearly ..... it's a REALLY GOOD JOB, dramatically better for the effort[s]. I [cn] "apologise" for wading in and editing stuff before I knew what I was doing in Wik. terms: but I'm about to get learning [!... had never heard of a "tilde" till this week/still haven't mastered the skill] and now look forward to a Highland Scotland wet day [must come soon!] to dig out old "Earl 'Fatha' Hines" scripts etc. to try and lend what little else I can. [The ref. to Jimmy Noone/The Apex Club should surely be there, "4 or 5 Times" with Hines c 1928 is good fun... or Hines liked it. Quoting [as yet!] from memory, Hines smiled with pleasure & said, "It's cute to hear that". Oh, and Eubie Blake should surely be there too.

Re "Weather Bird" etc., [the faultless] Richard Cook & Brian Morton write in 'The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD' 7th ed.p.46/7 "...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" & "Muggles" ": Amen to that. And Cook/Morton later [p778/779] continue, "Earl Hines had already played on some of the greatest of all jazz records - with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five - before he made any sessions under his own name. The piano solos he made in Long Island and Chicago, one day apart in December 1928, are....a youthful display of brilliance that has seldom been surpassed. [Hines'] ambidexterity, enabling him to finger runs and break up and supplant rhythms at will, is still breathtaking......."

Oh and, "He took classical piano lessons". I suspect that wasn't quite as it may now sound. I [seem to] remember Hine's saying that he had learned "classical piano" with "his auntie" as he, faintly surprisingly, called her but 'classical' meant Stephen Foster and light opera - and the over-70-year-old ["before-jazz-was-even-invented"] Hines turned on the Blues Alley [Washington] piano-stool and played..... "Beautiful Dreamer" [!].

"Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me" 

How far back in his memory was THAT?

There's more to come! Cnairn 10:58, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

At least some of the recent changes are mine (and thanks for the compliment). Note that you have absolutely nothing to apologize for - the way this site works is everyone contributes what they can. You might not know anything about fancy formatting or how to make footnotes or what a tilde is (!), but somebody else who does can fix up what you enter (and can help you learn if you want to). I'm VERY glad you're here, and appreciate the expertise you seem willing to share. To some extent this is a like a giant jazz jam session - you do your thing, I take that and build on it, somebody else takes what I did and builds on that, and this can continue indefinitely. -- Rick Block (talk) 16:41, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Most of the recent changes are Rick's, and I agree, they are very good. What I am going to do now (and I will probably have to do it again and again as the article is expanded) go in and clean up the occasional typo, and regularize the punctuation. Right now there is a lot of inconsistency. --Alan W 03:58, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Another thought. Earl Hines 'did' "Desert Island Discs" [that extraordinary BBC radio program that has been going continuously since 1942] more times, I THINK I am right in saying, than anyone else has ever done - Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King et al [recently, for instance, Daniel Barenboim, Emmylou Harris, Renee Fleming, John Malkovich, Billy Connolly, Hugh Masekala etc etc]. I THINK Hines did it 3 times over the years but need to check - certainly the last time when he was staying with me in London in 19?? - I went with him to his BBC Portland Place recording. If so, that means that in the BBC radio archives there are/should be 3 half-hour interviews with Hines plus his "favourite" probably-24 recordings.... some of which might v. much surprise us all! Another wet-day job. [If you've never found Desert Island Discs.... it can be absolutely great]Cnairn 09:21, 30 July 2006 (UTC) [Tildes still beyond me, roll on that wet day: cn]
And another: To be boring about "published" sources [about which I know a nice joke], I thought I'd learn more about Lois Deppe re Hines.... so I type "Lois Deppe" into ever-wonderful Google.... and the "published sources" don't, enjoyably, for the moment [even!] seem to be able to agree on his/her sex, no doubt a useful "on the one hand on the other" line in EH! Cnairn 10:06, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
And another: trying to find more on Lois Deppe, I found this ..... "arguable" re reliability I'd say (and possibly "arguable" stylistically[!] I'd say) but put it in for info: as it goes on for ever [& ever] will someone please use it if it's helpful and then delete it...... please:-

"The following is an excerpt from the book: Nat King Cole by Daniel Mark Epstein Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux; 0374219125; $27.00US; Oct. 99 Copyright © 1999 Daniel Mark Epstein


The kid was wearing a light green gabardine suit that draped his long, slender frame so loosely it looked like the first high-note blast of a trumpet might blow his coat off. His mouth was set, his dark face brooding like the rain-fixed clouds on that warm night in September. Approaching the bandstand with a flat-footed, pigeon-toed shamble, he held his head down and to one side, his slanted eyes averted, as if afraid to meet the gaze of several thousand dancers, jazz lovers, and curiosity seekers who filled the Savoy Ballroom.

The kid was shy, and he was amazingly bold. He was the one the young dancers had come to see. They came to hear him play, the boy who would be King, a skinny sixteen-year-old pianist who dared to go up against Earl Hines in the Battle of Rhythm. In 1935 Hines was King of the Ivories, pianist without peer, leader of the hottest dance band on the South Side of Chicago, which was the jazz mecca of America at the very moment the music had achieved a peak of perfection it could not sustain or regain, ever. The music would never be better.

Earl Hines smiled at the people. They called him Gatemouth because of his long smile, full of teeth. He had a dapper pencil-thin mustache and wide-set eyes with high arched brows. He grinned at the jitterbugs on the dance floor, and he smiled up at the slim kid who was whispering orders to his sidemen setting up on their side of the double bandstand.

Gatemouth beamed at the crowd of thousands milling and jostling on the half-acre dance floor of the Savoy Ballroom. The bar in the northwest corner of the room was busy serving drinks to parties at the tables around the three sides of the dance floor. There were 3,000 people in the joint already and it would hold 6,000, at 40 cents a head. It was 30 cents a head before 8:30, when the show was to begin, but most folks couldn't get to the Savoy much before the show started. Gatemouth smiled at his competitor, but the youngster, self-absorbed, earnest, did not smile back, not because he was rude or hostile but because he was going about his business.

Earl Hines may have wondered if this very skinny, very black kid with the slanted eyes and bad complexion knew how to smile. A woman leaned over and whispered in Earl's ear. Wasn't there something about this boy, anyway, a power lurking? Wasn't there a kind of sweetness and vulnerability in his young face, his lean athletic carriage, his thick, soft hair? He was, well, he was adorable, that was the word, like a lion cub. You couldn't help but like him whether or not he could play a bit of piano ...

You could hardly help liking the kid, and right now Gatemouth was trying. He was trying like hell not to like him, tonight's rival in the Battle of Rhythm. The King of the Ivories could not figure out just how this had happened, how he, a master pianist and bandleader, thirty-two years old, at the top of his game, had been matched against this kitten half his age, this child who was up past his bedtime. The fledgling band would play the first set, Hines's band would follow, and so they would alternate, all night, competing for the crowd's applause. What hare-brained publicist, what backstabbing promoter would have put him in this position. Ed Fox of the Grand Terrace? Eddie Plique or Harry Englestein of the Savoy?

What could Hines possibly win from this beanpole kid and his high school band? It was as if Jack Dempsey, in the full glare of Madison Square Garden, should be pitted against some half-starved club fighter from Des Moines. If he beat him up, the crowd's heart would go out to the victim. If he didn't, if the youngster scored any points off the old man, he'd look like a young hero ... Gatemouth smiled at the Savoy. He had been set up. Money was changing hands. Money was always changing hands. Gatemouth was the property of Ed Fox of the Grand Terrace, on loan from the Terrace to the Savoy for two nights in September, the 7th and 8th. Last night the show had gone from 9 to 4 a.m. after the election of the "mayor" of Bronzeville, an annual popularity contest on the South Side. Folks had called this area Bronzeville since the blacks had settled here at the turn of the century.

Hines had been so busy he might not have noticed the little two-by- five-inch ad on page four of the Chicago Defender that day:

Chicago Battle of Rhythm Sunday, Sept. 8th Earl Hines and his Orchestra VS. Nat Cole, Chicago's Young Maestro, And his Rogues of Rhythm 2----------Bands----------2

Gatemouth had to admit it was good marketing. His orchestra was the premier dance band in the Midwest, with nightly network broadcasts from the Terrace Ballroom, and dozens of recordings on the Victor label. And the kid? Somehow he was already famous in Chicago. Almost a year earlier, October 6, 1934, the Negro newspaper the Chicago Defender had published a headshot of the fifteen-year-old in a white collar and dark necktie, pouting pretty much like he was doing now, under the words "Plenty Hot," over the news story that "Nat" Cole had "started out a few years ago as just another musician, but today he is known as the leader of one of the hottest bands in the Middle West." Started out a few years ago! How old was he then? Nine? Ten? Now everybody knew that the kid and his band were battling every Sunday afternoon at the Warwick Hall against an older high school bandleader, Tony Fambro. They called Tony "Little Duke" because he modeled his band on Ellington's.

Jazz was bigger than any varsity sport on the South Side of Chicago in 1935. Any boy who could blow five notes on a horn or pluck a fiddle string or bang a pot wanted to be in a band. There were dozens of these outfits, hundreds of them. Somehow Nat Cole, playing in clubs and dance halls from childhood, had set himself apart, above the rest of them.

Everybody liked him, liked to hear him play piano. He had a following. And somebody "up there" liked him too, it seemed, somebody in the upper echelon of the Chicago Defender, the weekly newspaper that was the voice, the conscience and the guiding spirit of the South Side. They kept printing his name and his picture in the "Stage-Screen-Drama" section of the paper. On December 15, 1934, they had printed Nat Cole's picture again, this time the brooding, intense face in three-quarter profile, in white tie. It was to publicize the Defender's Midnight Show at the Regal Theatre. This was the seventh annual Christmas Basket Show, all proceeds to go to needy families.

Cole's name already was being used to sell seats in the largest theater on the South Side of Chicago.

"You are sure to like his playing," wrote the journalist, "for he is a second Earl Hines."

Gatemouth smiled, reflectively. Was there enough room in Chicago for another Earl Hines?


To know Nat Cole you must first know Earl Hines, his artistic father.

Earl's teeth were like the white keys of a piano. They called him Gatemouth because his mouth was like the pearly gates and he was always smiling. He smiled because he loved to play piano and he was almost always playing. Sometimes he smiled so hard the muscles in his face would freeze and the smile would stick on his face for an hour or so after the show was over. One of his sidemen would have to massage the smile off his face.

Musicians were already beginning to call Earl Hines "Fatha" at age thirty-two because he had given birth to a style--more than a style, a virtual language--of jazz piano. There were wicked rumors that Hines had an invisible third hand, that he had made a pact with the Devil. Men who had never seen him up close, envious musicians, said that Gatemouth had cut the "webs" between his fingers with a razor blade, so as to give him the extra stretch needed to manage those tenth-interval trills.

Every kid pianist in the Midwest copied Earl Hines.

Little Nat Cole learned to play jazz piano by listening to Gatemouth 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.

Hines, too, had been a prodigy, mastering the Czerny exercises and playing Chopin preludes by the age of eleven in Duquesne, Pennsylvania. By the time he was fourteen Hines was winning prizes and getting his picture in the paper. He was drawn to popular music. Earl was living with his Aunt Sadie Phillips when he was in high school, and she dabbled in light opera. Musicians like Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, renowned pianist/composer Lucky Roberts, and singer Lois Deppe liked to visit Sadie and play on her piano. That is how Earl first heard ragtime and blues.

Mr. Deppe the jazz singer was so impressed with the boy's command of the keyboard he persuaded Earl's father to let him come and live at Lieder House. This was a sort of cabaret and inn in Pittsburgh. There, for fifteen dollars a week, Earl accompanied the singer. Soon Hines organized a band called the Symphonian Serenaders. He watched other pianists. Jim Fellman taught him to make "tenths" with his left hand. Johnny Waters of Detroit could stretch tenths with his right hand while playing a little melody with the middle fingers. Young Earl watched, and listened, and stretched his growing hands.

Deppe took him on the train to visit Lucky Roberts in New York. The titanic composer of "Junk Man Rag" lived in a three-room apartment furnished exclusively with pianos. Talk about the musicians' skill in terms of quantity must have started with Lucky, who did indeed play a lot of piano. He had great big hands, and fingers bigger than most people's thumbs. Lucky would break down your piano. He could, and would, break down anybody's piano, when he got warmed to his work on numbers like "Maple Leaf Rag" or "The Crazy Blues." He made money writing show tunes, most of which went to buy pianos, which he regarded as a disposable commodity like shirt collars and umbrellas. He had a piano for every day of the week, for every mood. To walk through Lucky's rooms was to survey the wreckage of his musical epiphanies.

Earl Hines and Lois Deppe watched Lucky roll up his sleeves and attack one of his torn-out pianos in pursuit of some uncommonly syncopated boogie-woogie; the men ducked and dodged piano keys as they came flying across the room. By the time Earl Hines arrived in Chicago in 1924 at age twenty, he had recorded eight sides for Gennet, including his own "Congaine," and Lucky's "Isabel." He had formed his own band with Benny Carter on sax and "Cuban" Bennet blowing trumpet. And at twenty-one, Gatemouth had forged a piano style that surpassed that of James P. Johnson and rivaled the work of the great Jelly Roll Morton, the self-styled "Originator of Jazz."

Ferdinand Joseph Morton, a.k.a. Ferdinand La Menthe and "Jelly Roll," born in Louisiana in 1885, moved to Chicago a year before Hines. In the sporting houses of New Orleans's red-light district, Storyville, Jelly Roll fused ragtime, blues, and marches into a foot-stomping, finger-snapping dance music for the piano. His left hand would "stride" out bass rhythms like the drums and saxhorns of a marching band (oomp-cha, oomp-cha) while his right hand fingered syncopated melodies and high obbligati.

It was Jelly Roll's stride style of piano that folks danced to in sporting houses and gin mills from New Orleans to Biloxi, in roadhouses and at rent parties from Jacksonville to Mobile, from St. Louis to Kansas City, from San Francisco to Detroit, as Jelly rambled for twenty years before hauling up to Chicago in the summer of 1923.

Jelly Roll came swaggering into a house party and musicians made way for him like the Red Sea parting for Moses. He was a slender and light-skinned Creole, a dapper man utterly without humility. As he took over the piano he would throw his head back and proclaim: "I am the great Jelly Roll Morton." Then he would turn his head to the crowd and flash them a smile that lit up the 30-point diamond set in his front tooth. He would pound the keyboard hard with block chords in both hands to establish his authority, then lightly tease with a seductive melody as he again shouted, "I am the great Jelly Roll! " Then the voodoo thunder of the striding bass would start in the left hand and a double-note obbligato or trill in the right hand on a knockout tune like "King Porter Stomp." As he played, Jelly Roll would scream, "I invented jazz! Yes I did! I did that!" But by then everybody would be jumping and swinging around the room, and the music was so good nobody cared who had invented it.

Jelly Roll may have created jazz piano. But Gatemouth Earl Hines was the first grand master of the art, bringing to that complex, many-voiced instrument the volume and harmonic richness it deserves. He drew upon three hundred years of European chording and counterpoint to embellish the dance music of New Orleans. He would free his left hand from the chains of the stride bass, without missing a beat of dance rhythm, using his left to make melodies and harmonies from one end of the keyboard to the other. Upward glissandos, octave slides, he played with a nimble left hand so free of his right that it was hard to believe there was only one man at the piano.

Jelly heard Earl Hines playing solo at the Elite No. 2 Club in Chicago in 1924, before Gatemouth went on the road with Carroll Dickerson's band. A few years later he might have heard Earl at the Sunset CafÈ, a mob-controlled nightclub on 35th and Calumet, playing ducts with Louis Armstrong, numbers such as "Muggles" and "Weather Bird Rag."

There in the Sunset CafÈ in 1927 and 1928 the twenty-one-year-old keyboard genius and the twenty-seven-year-old archangel of the trumpet created the seminal rhythmic language of ensemble jazz.

It is fitting that the central act of creation was not a solo or a chorus but a duet: high jazz was born by Satchmo's horn out of Gatemouth's piano. Listening to the masterpieces recorded in those years, "Skip the Gutter" or "West End Blues," you cannot separate rhythm from melody, or divorce the inspiration of the piano from the trumpet's. They greet each other, trade phrases and solos, they harmonize. They fall in love, fight, and make up again. If Jelly Roll Morton heard them at the Sunset CafÈ, or later at the Warwick Hall, where Gatemouth and Satchmo tried, and failed, to start their own gangsterless nightclub, Jelly might well have wondered what God had wrought, what his own invention had come to. These young men were breaking the old wood into kindling and setting the house on fire.

ON HIS BIRTHDAY, December 28,1928, Earl Hines and his ten-piece band opened Ed Fox's brand-new Grand Terrace, a Chicago nightclub and dance hall at Oakwood and South Parkway Boulevard. Customers sat on different terracelike levels on either side of the bandstand. Owner and manager Fox was a stocky Jew with close-cropped hair, a flat nose, and a triangular smile. He had ambitions to be a music impresario.

Puffing on a cigar, he told Hines, "I have a hundred thousand dollars," back when that much could buy more than a million can now. "I'm going to run this place for one year. Whether anybody comes in here or not, you're going to get your money."

For the twenty-three-year-old pianist this was a dream come true. He bought a three-piece suit and a beaver coat. He bought kid gloves and a big gold ring. His contract with Fox guaranteed Gatemouth $150 a week, rain or shine. It was a fortune. Earl and his band began recording for Victor records in 1929. Summers the band toured, playing St. Louis and Earl's hometown, Pittsburgh. WSBC radio began broadcasting Earl's performances at the Grand Terrace.

In 1932, when business was booming at the Grand Terrace, Al Capone sent five men to pay Ed Fox a visit. They entered without knocking. The first man went straight to the cash register. One stood outside the front door, on guard, one on either side of the building, while the lieutenant of the squad led Fox to the back office.

"We're going to take twenty-five percent," Capone's man told Fox.

"You must be losing your mind," the club owner replied.

When the visitor softly explained that Fox needed protection, and that his wife and little boys also needed protection, Ed Fox found himself without the heart to refuse it.

From that point forward Fox had a partner in the gold mine that was the Grand Terrace, and Earl Hines had two bosses, one of whom was scarface Al Capone. Police never came near the speakeasy. Gangs would come in and try to outspend one another. Al Capone would drop by the club. Earl said hello to him at the door. Capone would lift his hand to straighten the handkerchief in Earl's breast pocket and later Gatemouth would find a hundred-dollar bill there. It was during the reign of Al Capone that Earl Hines got his three-thousand-dollar Bechstein piano. Band members Jimmie Mundy and Trummy Young were amazed how Earl could break strings in the Bechstein with the power of his left hand. Later they would hammer at the Bechstein with their fists and they couldn't do it.

Capone began to think of Gatemouth as property. When Hines went on the road with his band, two bodyguards accompanied him everywhere because Scarface was worried a rival gang might injure Hines to hurt Capone. When the pianist protested he didn't need two bodyguards, Capone shrugged and said it was no big deal, he had thirty of them himself.

Now Gatemouth smiled at the boy called Nat Cole. Did he really want to be a second Earl Hines? Did he know the cost?

DURING THE RULE OF THE GANGSTERS in the 1930s Earl Hines's dream became a nightmare. He was a black songbird in a gilded cage. Hines was one of many great musicians chained to a certain nightclub or theater the way antebellum Negroes were chained to a plantation. The jazz slave masters were mobsters: Owney Madden of Harlem's Cot- ton Club, Johnny Lazia of Kansas City, and Al Capone in Chicago. The bandstand at the Cotton Club even featured white columns, with a backdrop that depicted the slave quarters and weeping willows of a Southern mansion. The mob network controlled the bookings and salaries of such jazz luminaries as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Louis Armstrong, and Earl Hines.

But while Fox and others at the Grand Terrace were getting rich, Gatemouth found himself shackled to a $150-per-week contract that was built to outlast Chicago itself. Through his front man Ed Fox, Capone had a covenant with Hines that would not even allow him to use his own name if he left the Grand Terrace without permission. The contract existed in perpetuo: If Fox died, Gatemouth would be the widow's chattel; if she died, the eldest son would inherit the pianist . . .

If it wasn't the gangsters it was the musicians' union complicating Earl's life. Jealous musicians without steady work resented Earl's arrangement with the Grand Terrace. They would mutter under their breath: "Everybody standing around the mail box / While Gatemouth got his pension with Mister Ed Fox." It was bad enough having Al Capone ordering him around, but he was damned if the union was going to tell him where he could play.

So in May of 1933, when the union suspended Hines for playing a nonunion cafÈ in St. Louis, he tried to ignore it. He needed money. A month later he played a nonunion gig at a dance in Danville, Illinois, and the union suspended him for a year. That hurt him, and he spent much of the summer of 1933 in the appeal process, getting his colleagues to forgive and reinstate him.

And if it wasn't the gangsters, or the union, it was the women, flirting, distracting, double-timing, loving and leaving him in joy or misery. But that was another story ...

Through all the toil and trouble Hines at least had his music, his piano, and the orchestra to nourish and sustain him. And he enjoyed the company of bandmates who were great musicians in their own right: Walter Fuller and George Dixon on trumpets, Trummy Young and Louis Taylor on trombones, Budd Johnson and Jimmy Mundy on saxophones, plus Omer Simeon and Darnell Howard, versatile on clarinets and saxes.

Now they were all standing around at the Savoy Ballroom, smoking, drinking, joking, waiting for this new kid Cole to hit the keys and make music. That's what they were all here for, the music, to play it and hear it and dance to it. None of them were getting rich from it.

It was almost nine o'clock, and soon the kid had to begin. A stream of automobiles crawling bumper to bumper north and south on South Parkway Boulevard was unloading passengers--girls in black satin dresses, guys in loose pinstripes and shiny wing-tip shoes. Incredibly, the crowd was still filing into the ballroom, three, four thousand of them, laughing, jostling under the lighted beams of the high ceiling, eddying around the square columns with the plaster Corinthian capitals, maneuvering for a little ground on the dance floor with a clear view of the stage.

There stood the announcer, Eddie Plique, a thin white guy with a pinched face, dark eyes, and a square chin, holding a crumpled piece of paper. Over the din at the Savoy, Eddie Plique introduced the meager band of high school boys that would throw the first punch of the evening... "Ladies and gentlemen, Nat Cole and his Royal Dukes!" Applause. "On saxophone, Andrew Gardner, on trumpet, Charles Gray ... Russell Shores on drums ... on bass, Mr. Henry Fort, on trombone John Dawkins ... and last but not least, the Prince of Ivories, Nat 'Schoolboy' Cole!"

At the sound of Cole's name, a roar of affection arose from the audience, and Earl Hines knew he was in trouble. The Schoolboy had the home-court advantage. If this scant band of amateurs could play jazz at all, then it would take enormous finesse and tact for Hines's fourteen-piece orchestra to survive the night with any dignity. It was David vs. Goliath.

Could the kid play? Gatemouth watched the boy as he sat sweating under the bright lights of the bandstand, fronting his ragged orchestra of dented horns, dressed in ill-fitting green suits like their leader's, gripping their instruments in terror as if the dancers were about to open fire on them. What would they play?

The kid jerked his left hand in the air and dropped it. There sounded the dull sputtering of an alto saxophone, and they were off running, the kid nodding on the beat, his arms hanging at his sides as the muted trumpet stated the theme. It was Gatemouth and his arranger Quinn Wilson's version of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Hines might have known the battle of rhythm would be fought with his own weapons. The kid knew him by heart. Maybe he would just echo the master, roughly, in respectful homage. That wouldn't be so bad. Or would it?

"No gal made has got a shade on ... sweeet Georgia Brown..." No vocal, just the simple tune played by the muted trumpet in a steady moderate tempo and a little doubling at the end of the chorus but nothing too ambitious. Then the sax returned to take over the next chorus, blurting the melody, chewing it up a little while the trumpet harmonized in the fourth line, or commented with obbligati in the fifth and sixth. It wasn't very good playing but it wasn't quite embarrassing either ...

Then the crowd that had been murmuring and restless grew still. There was a perceptible straining of attention as they heard, somewhere a long way off, ever so faintly through the dense forest of horn growls and blasts, drumrolls, and thumping bass, a ripple of harmony. There was a dear harp in the distance that moved toward them rapidly as the young man at the piano began to brush his long hands lightly over the keys, looking at the crowd slyly out of the corners of his eyes. It was the kid, Nat Cole, entering the Savoy Ballroom through the last bars of the second chorus, come to rescue his schoolboy band from adolescent aimlessness and confusion.

The next chorus was all his, and Cole pounced on it, grabbing up the theme with his right hand in bright clear octaves while keeping a solid stride rhythm with his left hand. That was good, a fine copy of the master, Gatemouth, but how far could he go with it? The crowd was bouncing, nodding in time, and some were calling out encouragement. At the fifth bar Cole hit the high note and slid down off it into the middle register with the grace of an otter. Then he bounced back to play three more measures the same, maintaining the melody line within the cascade of glissandos, and the crowd began clapping in time. At the ninth bar the kid threw his right hand far east to grab whatever notes he could find up there and came down with clams, cherrystones, raw noise. But it hardly mattered as Nat cut the notes into double-eighths, sixteenths. All the while that stride rhythm kept going strong, rocking in the bass, Earl's men were staring and all the kids in the ballroom were on their feet dancing.

Gatemouth smiled in wonder at the kitten on the keys. It would be a long night. The kid had the gift, no question. But how bad did he want it, the music, the moments of glory, the trouble--gangsters, unions, the women? He might have the gift, but he was going to have to fight for it. Tonight and forever.

Who was Nat Cole, this boy who would be King?

Copyright © 1999 Daniel Mark Epstein Cnairn 11:10, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Heavens above!......And again, try Googling Studs+Terkel+Earl+Hines........ where will it end?Cnairn 11:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


New York Times Aug 28 1981 FATHA HINES STOMING AND CHOMPING ON AT 75 Print Single-Page Save

By ROBERT PALMER Published: August 28, 1981 NONE of us knew we were making history, said Earl (Fatha) Hines, who was sitting at a corner table in Fat Tuesday's with a substantial cigar clamped securely between his teeth. He was talking about West End Blues, Basin Street Blues and the other recordings he made with Louis Armstrong in the late 1920's, recordings that are now recognized as enduring jazz masterpieces. To us, every one of those sessions was just one more recording, Mr. Hines added, and if people liked it, that was fortunate for us. I didn't know those recordings were any good, to tell you the truth.

Mr. Hines and Mr. Armstrong revolutionized jazz with the recordings they made together beginning in 1928, and the disks Mr. Hines made that same year as a piano soloist and with the band of the clarinetist Jimmie Noone were also jazz milestones. Most of the musicians who participated in those recordings, including Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Noone, the drummer Zutty Singleton and the saxophonist and arranger Don Redman, died years ago. But Mr. Hines, who is 75 years old, is still an agile and inventive pianist, and he is still performing regularly. He is at Fat Tuesday's, 190 Third Avenue, at 17th Street, evenings through Sunday; show times are around 9 and 11, with 1 A.M. shows tonight and tomorrow. There are a $7.50 music charge and a $5 a person minimum; the number to call for reservations and more information is 533-7902.

The recordings that made Earl Hines's reputation - his work with Mr. Armstrong, his early piano solos and his performances with the big band he founded at the end of 1928 -were the work of an assertive musician who was determined to be heard. In the 20's, the trumpet was the lead instrument in most jazz ensembles; it wa! the brightest, brassiest horn, and it usually carried the melody and sang out over the rest of the band. Mr. Hines developed a trumpet style of piano playing.

My father was a cornet player, he said, and I wanted to play that instrument when I was growing up. But playing it used to hurt me behind my ears, so I learned the piano instead. And I started playing on the piano what I had wanted to play on the cornet. Besides, I wanted to be heard. They didn't have amplifiers for pianos or for anything else in those days, so I would cut through the rest of the instruments in the band with my right hand. I was really playing heavy; when you're young you've got a lot of strength." .........PLUS A WHOLE LOT MORE Cnairn 13:14, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Another source[edit]

Cnairn, that Times article is a good find. I've used it to add more support to Hines's statement that his early attempt at "blowing" the cornet hurting him "behind the ears". I've also done more Americanization. Since Hines was American, I think it makes sense to use American spelling and punctuation throughout. I've also added a sentence that suggests why Hines might have thought he was playing jazz before the word was invented. There is no doubt that the word was applied to the music on a public recording as early as 1917, and almost certainly existed at least in New Orleans some years before that. --Alan W 16:36, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry about the spelling - I once heard my well-educated mother saying "No, U - U for onion" down the phone: must be genetic! You make it entirely better every time, Alan - keep on going! Interestingly, when I did the TV film with Hines in 1975, at the 'rough-cut' stage he wanted only one very, very minor change to the whole hour. I'd written a bit of intro commentary that said "This film is about a jazz pianist" over Hines walking up the Washington street to Blues Alley. "Couldn't we change "jazz pianist" to "piano player?", he asked. Yes we could and yes we did! Not sure how that helps us all! Cnairn 19:13, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Cnairn, I removed the following from the article: "He may have been correct: pre-radio, and if the first 'jass'-recording (as it was called on the label) was made in New York in January 1917, when did the word 'jazz' reach Pittsburgh?" Speculations like these belong here, not in the article itself! And I will say here that Hines still was probably mistaken. Maybe they didn't have radio, but the record was very popular nationally. Also, 1917 was around the time when the usage "jass" was just starting to turn into "jazz", and I recall seeing it that way in a photo of the ODJB from 1917 or 1918. Anyway, maybe this whole part should be left out. I think that compared to Hines's astonishing piano playing, whether he had actually heard the word "jazz" when he started playing the piano is of very minor significance.
As for his wanting to be known as a "piano player" rather than "pianist", I can understand that; in those days "pianist" smacked too much of the effete, the stilted, the "highbrow". Anyway, I think it is important for us not to get too caught up in one or another particular little thing Hines might have said. Even if he was not aware of the word "jazz" around 1920, that is not a criminal offense! But neither should his claim about playing the music before the word was invented be given prominent attention. We ought to focus on what made him so great as a pianist, er, piano player. :-)

OBVIOUSLY TOTALLY CORRECT, ALAN & 'HE MAY HAVE BEEN CORRECT etc' IS OBVIOUSLY BETTER OUT - though it is fun, isn't it, to watch how words "spread", in our super-communication days, now like wildfire: I struggle to understand some young Americans nowadays, especially talking to each other - it's great and fascinating! Cnairn 07:17, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

And no need to apologize for your British spelling, any more than I should for my American spelling. British spelling would make perfect sense here if the article were about, say, Humphrey Lyttleton. It is only because Hines was American himself that I feel it is American spelling we should adhere to. --Alan W 23:02, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

OBVIOUSLY CORRECT AGAIN, ALAN but doesn't Wikip. have a 'guideline' on this? I think of it as being American so shouldn't its spelling be consistant?Cnairn 07:17, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

The spelling guideline is at WIkipedia:Manual of style#National varieties of English. Wikipedia is not American (although it is hosted on servers in the U.S.) - the contributors are worldwide. There are (independently maintained) wikipedias in 229 (!) languages. The English language Wikipedia is by far the largest. -- Rick Block (talk) 13:43, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Don't know if you (Rick) are suggesting that I was suggesting that Wikipedia is specifically American, but I did not mean to do so. The guideline article you point to supports exactly what I am contending for here: "If an article's subject has a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, it should use that dialect." The "region" in this case is the United States, since jazz and Earl Hines are both American-born. That is all I am saying. --Alan W 01:36, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
No, no, no, not at all. Just clarifying for CN's benefit. -- Rick Block (talk) 01:44, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Can I also ask for a bit of advice please? I added above onto this page an-obviously-far-too-long-for-anybody piece re Nat Cole: what is sensible now to do? [Maybe I shouldn't have done it at all?] Who should best 'edit' this talk page so that it's useful - rather than just an endless quagmire of FAR too much stuff? Sorry to have contributed to the "problem" Cnairn 07:17, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Is the bit above about Nat Cole verbatim from some copyrighted source? If so, we should delete it. In general, when talk pages get too long (this one is perhaps not quite there yet), the older sections are archived by copying them to another page (see Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page). Copy or not, everything that is ever entered is recoverable from the "history" of each page (every version is kept, basically forever). -- Rick Block (talk) 13:43, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Don't know, Rick, about the copyright. I found it via Google under <Nat King Cole by Daniel Mark Epstein Published by Farrar Straus> as a given/quoted extract. Who should do what about keeping/deleting it? There's endless stuff about Hines on Nat Cole websites along the "Hines was Nat Cole's mentor/idol" line.

And of course The New Yorker's [wonderful] Whitney Balliett has written superbly and often about Hines.Cnairn 06:40, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Pretty much "there" now?[edit]

Re-reading the Hines entry, isn't it pretty much "there" now..... save for some better references? [I'll do some when I can]. I'd say so.... it seems pretty good to me - even 'accurate'! Cnairn 17:27, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Although most articles are never really "there", the general goal is to improve articles to the point where they might become a featured article. The criteria for this are listed at What is a featured article?. I'd say it needs at least a photograph (surely someone has a photo they can digitize and upload), somewhat more on the influence Hines had on other jazz pianists (I don't have a reference handy but I've certainly seen quotes like "Hines influenced absolutely everyone"), and possibly a link to a separate article containing a discography. Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis are featured articles. It might be interesting to compare this one to those for more ideas. BTW - I'm only 50 pages into the Dance book. -- Rick Block (talk) 13:49, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Re "a photograph" what's wrong with some of those on Google "Images", particularly that one of Hines as a really 'cool' young man in what looks like a bear-skin [what is it/it's amazing?] coat. I've got lots of good B & W's which I could surely digitalise but the already-there Google one looks great to me - can't surely still be someone's copyright can it? Who can do what to get a great photo in? [I don't know how to] Cnairn 14:45, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia's been beat up pretty good about using copyrighted photos - the policy (see Wikipedia:Image use policy) is now very strict. When you upload an image, if you didn't take it yourself you have to say exactly where you got it from (what URL), who owns the copyright, and what license terms they've released it under. I assume you mean the image from Images published (not taken) before January 1, 1923 in the U.S. are public domain. Anything originally published after that has to be considered to be copyrighted, and can't be used in Wikipedia unless the copyright owner has released it under a free license of some sort. I'd guess that particular image was originally published after 1923, so can't be used (unless it's been released under a free license). I can't find anything at that says it's a "free" image. If you can digitize a photo of yours that you're willing to release under the terms of the GFDL (which basically says anyone can use it for any purpose, even commercial purposes, as long as they let anyone else reuse it for any purpose ...), that'd be best. -- Rick Block (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Not So Fast![edit]

Done? Far from it! I just added another reference, plus more on Hines's last years (fortunately supported by that source). Those years were so fertile, I'm not sure we shouldn't add a lot more (if we could only find the sources). We could probably use a little discography too. I also fiddled with the wording a bit, so that mention of Hines's singing doesn't seem dropped in out of nowhere. --Alan W 02:50, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

As before, better & better Alan W:- and there's:- Jazz at Lincoln Center 33 West 60th St., 11th floor New York, NY 10023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08.08.05 For more information, please contact: Mary Fiance Fuss, Director, Public Relations (212) 258-9829 or Zooey Tidal, Assistant Director, Public Relations (212) 258-9821, Andrew Shearer, Rubenstein Communications (212) 843-8061, High resolution, downloadable photos of inductees and the Neshui Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame are available at: For 2004 Inductees and More Information visit JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES 2005 CLASS OF INDUCTEES INTO NESUHI ERTEGUN JAZZ HALL OF FAME International Voting Panel Selects 12 Jazz Legends to be Honored on September Earl Hines (1903-1983) Earl "Fatha" Hines was celebrated as the father of modern jazz piano. By the age of twenty-four, he had already shown that by loosening up the rhythm played by his left hand and boldly spinning out compelling melodies with his right, his instrument could be freed forever from its role as a mere time-keeper in the band. For nearly six decades, he never fell from fashion among musicians. "Earl can go on for ninety years," Count Basie said, "and never be out of date."

Basie also called Hines, "The greatest piano player in the world" [See Stanley Dance's sleevenote to Delmark's Hines' "At Home" - Dance knew them both well & wrote both their "World of..." biogs: Cnairn 15:03, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Your adding several more musicians that Hines played with at that time makes it better and better, too. As what you write above shows, there is much, much more. And we will all do more as time permits, I'm sure, so that we give Hines the recognition he deserves. --Alan W 03:42, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

New info added[edit]

I started doing some revision to the Hines bio, and added some of my publications as sources. Research in period newspapers shows that Hines moved to Chicago in early 1925.--Jtaylor651 20:36, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Jreferee 22:09, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


I'm sorry if I've missed out on something somewhere, but I haven't come across any real reference to his discography apart from passing refs. in the body of the article. Have set the ball rolling with the only recording I have. Regs. Technopat 21:34, 3 June 2007 (UTC) .... and we've followed - thanx81.251.41.91 (talk) 22:10, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

The authoritative reference on jazz discographies is

I've corrected the discography accordingly.Dogru144 (talk) 22:39, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Photo location[edit]

A search makes it apparent: the club was in Vancouver, BC.Dogru144 (talk) 22:39, 30 July 2008 (UTC)


His tombstone inscription is noted in this article. Where is his gravesite??Dogru144 (talk) 18:43, 6 December 2008 (UTC) Done Dogru144√ Easy to find on Google inc photos of it.

More on Hines's Daughters[edit]

I don't have enough time to work on the Hines article now, but I am copying here some information left on my talk page by user Frweber today. This belongs on the Earl Hines talk page anyway:

"Tosca Hines died of a heroin overdose on 11/24/1976 in Pomona, CA, according to the coroner's report (dated 11/27/76). And Janear (his other daughter) died of Bright's disease on March 2, 1981 at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. Janear acted in the TV series JULIA (this information from the 3/6/81 issue of VARIETY). How sad that he lived to see both his daughters die! Judging by the area code of her phone number, Marva Josie is now in the Pittsburgh area". —Frweber --Alan W (talk) 03:35, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I went to high school with Tosca for a couple for years. This was around 1967 at Presentation High School in Berkeley, California. Tosca was a year younger than I and other than to know she was Earl Fatha Hines' daughter, I have little to add. I do remember she did not return to Presentation after possibly two years. Never sure quite why though this was a fairly strict Catholic high school (Ironically located between Cal Berkeley, Berkeley High and West Campus (junior high school)in Berkeley in the 1960's)! Tosca's best friend at Presentation was Rene ____ (cannot recall) who was two years older than she and supposedly related to possibly a Motown recording artist. Rene died of a brain tumor (I think) shortly after high school graduation in 1969. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 03:47, 21 January 2011 (UTC).

Minor edit, but...[edit]

Cleaned up some peacock, overly ornate, folk, and non-conforming language. More significantly, excised a weaselly, snotty reference to Louis Armstrong, that did nothing to further the aim of telling Hines' story. Tapered (talk) 01:31, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

I think yours is a good clean-up around earlier ref to Glen Gould, Tapered - but I can't at all see or agree with what you say about a "covert weaselly snotty putdown of Louis Armstrong". What putdown? Surely that to-me-VERY-interesting idea precisely did "further the aim of telling Hines' story". One of the remarkable things about Hines was that some of is greatest work was done after he was "due for" retirement. How many jazz musicians has that been true of? Surely even Louis Armstrong, one of the greatest of all, wasn't able to do that for, of course, sad reasons - precisely as Collier, Louis Armstrong's own biographer and great admirer, points out for us. Was Collier 'weaselly & snotty'? Surely not! Surely the idea of Hines' astonishing late [and so-rare] re-flowering is of the greatest significance so far as Hines was concerned? I'd say if anything the idea should be expanded.Tolesi (talk) 12:28, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

A put down of Armstrong in an article about Hines to build up Hines' reputation is weaselly. Period. See below for general assessment of this article.Tapered (talk) 00:58, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Oops. Putting it in a footnote is a great idea. That way it doesn't put Armstrong down to build up Hines. Tapered (talk) 01:43, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Caveat: that footnote can't take me to a source! Need title, etc. Please provide! Tapered (talk) 02:20, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

- Woah-up Tapered! Surely it was you who lost/deleted the source? Looking back, until your edit, it had been there many months [Collier, Louis Armstrong p.341] properly annotated. Shouldn't you therefore reinstate it? Thanks - I'm sure this was just an oversight.


Many of what are listed as references in this article are unattributed quotes. I'm going to change them to 'citation needed,' and if the contributors don't list references, consider excising large swaths of this article. Earl Hines was a GREAT musician. If he had played as this article is written and documented, no one would remember his name, except family and friends. Tapered (talk) 01:04, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I can't even-remotely understand what you say, Tapered. I'd say this article does more to resurrect Hines to the "GREAT musician" status that he, as you say, so much deserves than I could possibly imagine. Please explain what you mean and what your worries are? Nor do I understand what you say about references. Surely a lot of people have laboured hard to give these - one of which apparently you yourself have deleted [see above]. So you've lost me Gettingitright100 (talk) 20:15, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Although a longtime editor, I can't quote chapter and verse. BUT this article's references leave a lot to be desired. (Based on what I think I know about Hines, there's hyperbole, but not too much real peacock language, but that's a minor quibble.) The idea of references is that a reader can click on a link, or go to a library, or go to a bookstore and find information. Somewhere between 15-20 references in this article didn't measure up. I've annotated all that I could find, and removed just a few words. Somebody who knows a great deal about Hines added a large amount of material to the article, but was haphazard and sloppy about documentation. That's what I was complaining about, and I've acted--thoroughly and according to the rules. I hope whoever was so sloppy (and it appears to be the work of one or two people) sees what I've done and returns do a better job with their references.
On a humorous note, I just remembered something that I once heard Richard Hadlock, great SF Bay Area soprano saxophonist and musicologist say on the radio--that Hines would often begin an improvisation without knowing his final destination, in contrast to Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson. This article is bit like that description! I actually think it's a good article, but needs bringing up to snuff. Tapered (talk) 06:05, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Afterthought: There were multiple references to a film/tv show about Hines, which left it up to readers to do research. Will whoever referenced that work please do some homework, and help readers find the location of that film/video? Much appreciated. Tapered (talk) 06:29, 4 April 2011 (UTC) The film has been on YouTube for at least a year and it's absolutely great - over 21,000 viewers in that time and there are really interesting comments on it — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:06, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Did you mean this one? There's also this. I also found this [1] which is a New York recording made 26 February 1940 of Hines playing a Storytone Piano - an early electric piano which had strings with magnetic pickups and valve amplification, and which weighed one-and-a half tons. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:39, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

I imagine it was England's ATV's 1975 1 hr docu that was on YouTube for about a year - then removed for some reason: copyright? It was absolutely GREAT, wonderful music, great chat and all immensely charming. The comments were fascinating too, a lot from serious musicians. I wonder whether it might be 'restored' with its comments? It's a real loss. Tolesi (talk) 20:03, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Could well have been ATV, which ran from 1955 until 1982. How annoying. I wonder, if we had a title we might be able to search more easily for it. Let's hope it gets posted again. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:48, 18 January 2013 (UTC) describes it as, "Wonderful film made for British TV. This is Earl Hines playing solo in an intimate club setting and chatting to the director and Frank Hart, the club's clean up man". I think it was/is actually called Earl "Fatha" Hines. The thing that was/is so extraordinary was how, for a whole hour, the music simply builds and builds - it's amazing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tolesi (talkcontribs) 16:08, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I have now combined all the refs to the Nairn documentary (appears in Notes), removed the duplicate entry in the lost of "References", and placed an external link to the live on-line source at The refs could be converted to "cite source", which refer just to the list of References, if preferred. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:08, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Earl Hines/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Wizardman (talk · contribs) 02:47, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

I'll review this article shortly. Wizardman 02:47, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

I have a few major concerns with this article. The lead needs to be expanded, and some of the references use way too large a quote. Any quotes-in-refs over a sentence or two should be removed. While the prose is good in some parts, in others it gets oddly tangential, such as in "Charlie Parker, famously unreliable,[85] 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".[86]" - I don't see what that has to do with Hines.

Worst of all is that the article is way, way too quote-heavy. Even though everything's attributed, when you have a third of the article at least as quotations, then that becomes a concern in and itself. The article should be in one's own words rather than in everyone else's. For example, in style, we have four quotes, one particularly large. For someone's playing style there's no need for any quotations.

Lead and reference issues I could work around, as I could with prose, but the quotation issue essentially means that the article has to be redone from top to bottom to become GA quality. I have no doubt that 90% of the quotes in the article can be replaced with someone's own words noting part of the guy's career and nothing would be lost in doing so. Wizardman 03:03, 31 March 2014 (UTC)


This seems a VERY weird view to me! I'd say it was a quite unusually good article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Weird? I'd say totally DAFT! Surely it's already a pretty good and certainly VERY well researched & attributed article?"Tolesi (talk) 21:17, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

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Earl Hines Collection at UC Berkeley[edit]

The UC Berkeley Music Library owns a collection of Hines' arrangements, papers and personal effects. The finding aid is available to view online at . Would this link be appropriate to add to the References section?

Surely Yes. (talk) 05:52, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

Image of gravestone at Find-a-grave[edit]

I see Find-a-grave links all over Wikipedia. I can see why the location, or other details, might be wrong. But an image of the actual gravestone?? Do we think that the inscription might have been photo-shopped on? Surely this is a useful source, but could be supported by another more reliable one? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:59, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

To lose this reference and the previous final sentence to the Hines article, 'On his tombstone the inscription "Piano Man", seems a genuine pity to me and has made what I see as a good article slightly less good and slightly less informative. I think the sentence should be restored and, if Find-a-grave is accepted elsewhere, ideally the [informative] ref with its photo of the gravestone too. How do we avoid an edit-war over this? Tolesi (talk) 05:51, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

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