51 Facts About Earl Hines


Earl Kenneth Hines, known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist and bandleader.


Earl Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one source, "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".


Earl Hines's father, Joseph Hines, played cornet and was the leader of the Eureka Brass Band in Pittsburgh, and his stepmother was a church organist.


Earl Hines intended to follow his father on cornet, but "blowing" hurt him behind the ears, whereas the piano did not.


Earl Hines got his board, two meals a day, and $15 a week.


Earl 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, Earl Hines moved to Chicago, Illinois, then the world's jazz capital, the home of Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver.

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Earl Hines started in Elite No 2 Club but soon joined Carroll Dickerson's band, with whom he toured on the Pantages Theatre Circuit to Los Angeles and back.


Earl Hines met Louis Armstrong in the poolroom of the Black Musicians' Union, local 208, on State and 39th in Chicago.


In other hands this might sound clumsy or all over the place but Earl Hines could keep his bearings with uncanny resilience.


Armstrong and Earl Hines became good friends and shared a car.


Armstrong and Earl Hines then recorded what are often regarded as some of the most important jazz records ever made.


Since Earl Hines is magnificent on these discs the results seem like eavesdropping on great men speaking almost quietly among themselves.


Earl Hines went briefly to New York and returned to find that Armstrong and Singleton had rejoined the rival Dickerson band at the new Savoy Ballroom in his absence, leaving Earl Hines feeling "warm".


Perry recorded several times with Earl Hines, including "Body and Soul" in 1935.


Earl Hines married singer 'Lady of Song' Janie Moses in 1947.


On December 28,1928, Earl Hines opened at Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe leading his own big band, a prestigious position in the jazz world at the time.


The Grand Terrace was controlled by the gangster Al Capone, so Earl Hines became Capone's "Mr Piano Man".


The Earl Hines band became the most broadcast band in America.


Occasionally, Earl Hines allowed another pianist sit in for him, the better to allow him to conduct the whole "Organization".


Earl Hines referred to it as an "invasion" rather than a "tour".


Earl Hines's band encountered trouble when several of its members were drafted into the armed forces in World War II.


Earl Hines went to New York and hired a "draft-proof" 12-piece all-woman group, which lasted two months.


Apart from Parker and Gillespie, other Earl 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.


People talk about the Earl Hines band being 'the incubator of bop' and the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Earl Hines band.

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In July 1946, Earl Hines suffered serious head injuries in a car crash near Houston which, despite an operation, affected his eyesight for the rest of his life.


In 1947, Earl Hines bought the biggest nightclub in Chicago, The El Grotto, but with the declining popularity of big-band music, it soon foundered and Earl Hines lost $30,000.


In early 1948, Hines joined up again with Armstrong in the "Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars" "small-band".


Armstrong was by then on his way to becoming an American icon, leaving Earl Hines to feel he was being used only as a sideman in comparison to his old friend.


Earl Hines started with a markedly more modern lineup than the aging All Stars: Bennie Green, Art Blakey, Tommy Potter, and Etta Jones.


In 1958, he broadcast on the American Forces Network but by the start of the jazz-lean 1960s, the aging Earl Hines settled "home" in Oakland, California, with his wife and two young daughters, opened a tobacconist's, and came close to giving up the profession.


In 1964, Stanley Dance, Earl Hines's determined friend and unofficial manager, convinced Earl Hines to perform a series of recitals at the Little Theatre in New York.


Earl Hines then won the 1966 International Critics Poll for DownBeat magazine's Hall of Fame.


Earl Hines was invited to appear on TV shows hosted by Johnny Carson and Mike Douglas.


Earl Hines will be sixty-seven this year and his style has become involuted, rococo, and subtle to the point of elusiveness.


Earl Hines recorded solo tributes to Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter in the 1970s, sometimes on the 1904 12-legged Steinway given to him in 1969 by Scott Newhall, the managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.


In 1974, when he was in his seventies, Earl Hines recorded sixteen LPs.


From his 1964 "comeback" until his death, Earl Hines recorded over 100 LPs all over the world.


Retakes were almost unheard of except when Earl Hines wanted to try a tune again in some other way, often completely different.


Earl Hines performed in Asia, Australia, Japan and, in 1966, the Soviet Union, in tours funded by the US State Department.


Arguably still playing as well as he ever had, Earl Hines displayed individualistic quirks in these performances.


In 1975, Earl Hines was the subject of an hour-long television documentary film made by ATV, out-of-hours at the Blues Alley nightclub in Washington, DC.


Earl Hines played solo at Duke Ellington's funeral, played solo twice at the White House, for the President of France and for the Pope.


Earl Hines's last show took place in San Francisco a few days before he died of a heart attack in Oakland.


Rhythmically, Earl Hines was very good at taking his melodic lines further and further way from the fixed foundation, creating a radical sense of detachment for a few beats or measures, only to land back in time with great aplomb when finished with his foray.

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Earl Hines became fond of radical dislocations, sudden turns of directions with dim and nonexistent connection to the ground harmony.


Earl Hines was both a great soloist and a great rhythm player.


Earl Hines has a beautiful powerful rhythmic approach to the keyboard and his rhythms are more eccentric than those of Art Tatum or Fats Waller.


Earl 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.


Earl Hines is very intricate in his rhythm patterns: very unusual and original and there is really nobody like him.


Earl Hines could produce improvised piano solos which could cut through to perhaps 2,000 dancing people just like a trumpet or a saxophone could.