EARL HINES Biography - Musicians


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Name: Earl Hines                                                                         
Born: December 28, 1903 Duquesne, Pennsylvania                                           
Died: April 23, 1983 Oakland, California                                                 
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, (28 December 1903           
Duquesne, Pennsylvania – 22 April 1983 in Oakland, California) was one of the           
most important pianists in the history of jazz.                                           
Earl Hines was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. His               
father was a cornetist and leader of Pittsburgh's Eureka Brass Band, his                 
stepmother 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. He took classical piano lessons but also developed an ear for                     
popular show tunes and was able to remember and play songs he heard in theaters.         
Hines claimed that he was playing piano around Pittsburgh "before the word 'jazz'         
was even invented".                                                                       
At the age of 17, Hines moved away from home to take a job playing with Lois             
Deppe & his Serenaders in the "Liederhaus", a Pittsburgh nightclub, for 2 meals           
a day and $15 a week.. Deppe was a well-known baritone who had boasted a                 
concert career. Hines' first recordings were with this band — four sides               
recorded with Gennett Records in 1923. Only two of these were issued, and                 
only one, a Hines composition, "Congaine", "a keen snappy foxtrot", featured             
any solo work by Hines. Hines entered the studio again with Deppe a month later,         
recording spirituals and popular songs. In 1925 he moved to Chicago, Illinois,           
then the world's "jazz" capital, home (at the time) to Jelly Roll Morton and             
King Oliver. He played piano with Carroll Dickerson's band (including a                   
nationwide tour on the Pantages circuit) and made his first acquaintance with             
Louis Armstrong.                                                                         
Armstrong and Hines became good friends and got jobs playing together in                 
Dickerson's band at the Sunset Cafe. In 1927 this became Louis Armstrong's band           
under the direction of Hines. Armstrong had already been 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" - and indeed they could. That year Armstrong                     
revamped his Okeh Records recording 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, most famously their 1928 trumpet and piano duet Weatherbird. From The         
Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD:                                                             
...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".                                                                             
Hines's solo recordings from that year, 57 Varieties (referring to Pittsburgh's           
H. J. Heinz Company's slogan) and his own composition My Monday Date (an inside           
joke between Hines, Armstrong, and Armstrong's wife) provided titles reused much         
later in Hines's career. After the Sunset Club closed, Armstrong and drummer             
Zutty Singleton ended up at the Savoy Theatre while Hines was in New York, and           
when he returned to Chicago, Hines ended up in Jimmie Noone's band at the Apex