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Earl Hines


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Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl “Fatha” Hines, (28 December 1903 – 22 April 1983) was a jazz musician, often referred to as “the first modern jazz pianist”.

In 1928 (on his 25th birthday) Hines began leading his own big band. For over 10 years his was “The Band” in Al Capone’s Grand Terrace Cafe — Hines was Capone’s “Mr Piano Man”. Hines recorded for Victor in 1929, then after a gap for Brunswick from 1932-1934, Decca from 1934-1935, then after another gap, Vocalion from 1937-1938 and Bluebird from 1939-1942 (nearly all among the best Black Jazz of the era). From the Grand Terrace, The Earl Hines Orchestra (or “Organization” as he more happily referred to it) broadcast on “open mikes”, sometimes five nights a week and over many years, coast to coast across America — Chicago being well placed to deal with the U.S. live-broadcasting time-zone problem. Hines’s band became the most broadcast band in America. Sometimes Nat “King” Cole was Hines’s relief pianist (though Cliff Smalls was his favorite) and it was here with Hines that Charlie Parker got his first professional job…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 Grand Terrace stage in his attempts to do so. Hines led his big band until 1947, taking time out to front the Duke Ellington orchestra in 1944 while Duke was ill…but the big-band era was over. (Thirty years later, Hines’s 20 solo “transformative versions” of his “Earl Hines Plays Duke Ellington” recorded in the 1970s were described by Ben Ratliff in the “New York Times” as “as good an example of the jazz process as anything out there”.)


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  • althefknamsrtkn

    Invented modern jazz piano and no one knows of him. Fuck a hell

    11 Jul 2014 Reply
  • Druid66

    I want to hear more from him, he's one of the "designers" of modern jazz, from what I've read here.

    8 Sep 2011 Reply
  • MJelsema

    Just fine. Hines was great when doing Weather Bird w Armstrong in 1928, and here he is at the end of his career playing with the same gusto and inventiveness 50 years later.

    2 Jun 2009 Reply
  • SYL2Oh

    With Earl Hines on piano jazz definitely found the fullness of its expressive possibilities!

    19 Apr 2008 Reply
  • honeybeeman

    how is the best song mood indigo not on this list? or is that earl hines plays duke ellington?

    21 Nov 2007 Reply
  • ThomasHagen

    Nice wig, too! :D

    30 Oct 2006 Reply
  • RJ

    nice grin on the artist pic ;)

    15 Oct 2006 Reply

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