20 Facts About Erroll Garner


Erroll Louis Garner was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads.

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Erroll Garner was self-taught and remained an "ear player" all his life, never learning to read music.

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Erroll Garner played locally in the shadow of his older pianist brother, Linton Garner.

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Erroll Garner briefly worked with the bassist Slam Stewart and, though not a bebop musician per se, in 1947 played with Charlie Parker on the "Cool Blues" session.

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Erroll Garner sued Columbia Records in 1960 for breach of contract, after Columbia released several recordings without Erroll Garner's consent.

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Erroll Garner had signed a five-year deal with Columbia in 1956, which contained an unprecedented clause giving Erroll Garner the right to approve the release of any of his recorded music.

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Erroll Garner was managed by Martha Glaser from 1950 until his death in 1977, with a period of this time as her only client.

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Short in stature, Erroll Garner performed sitting on multiple telephone directories.

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Erroll Garner was known for his vocalizations while playing, which can be heard on many of his recordings.

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Erroll Garner helped to bridge the gap for jazz musicians between nightclubs and the concert hall.

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Erroll Garner developed a signature style that involved his right hand playing slightly behind the beat while his left strummed a steady rhythm and punctuation, creating a carefree quality and at the same time an exciting rhythmic tension.

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Erroll Garner's 1955 live album Concert by the Sea was a best-selling jazz album in its day and features Eddie Calhoun on bass and Denzil Best on drums.

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In 1954 Erroll Garner composed "Misty", first recording it in 1955 for the album Contrasts.

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In 1964, Erroll Garner appeared in the UK on the music series Jazz 625 broadcast on the BBC's new second channel.

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In 2012 a film on Erroll Garner was released by Atticus Brady called No One Can Hear You Read, which Erroll Garner used to say when asked why he had never learned to read music.

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The film attempts to address Erroll Garner's fall from prominence after his death, reminding viewers how popular and original he was in his day as well as why he is considered in many quarters a legend, one of the true greats of jazz.

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In November, 2021, Erroll Garner was posthumously featured on "All Night Parking" with Adele on the latter's fourth studio album.

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The deal covers all of Erroll Garner's works including "Misty", as well as Erroll Garner's extensive archive of master recordings, many of which remain unreleased.

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Erroll Garner was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

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Erroll Garner did not marry, but fathered a daughter, Kim Erroll Garner, who is interviewed in No One Can Hear You Read.

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