Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines (December 28, 1903 – April 22, 1983), was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
Earl Hines was born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, 12 miles from Pittsburgh city center. His father, Joseph Hines, played cornet and was leader of Pittsburgh's Eureka Brass Band, his stepmother a church organist. Hines intended to follow his father on cornet but "blowing" hurt him behind the ears - while the piano didn't. The young Hines took classical piano lessons - at eleven he was playing the organ in his local Baptist church - but he also had a "good ear and a good memory" and could re-play songs and numbers he heard in theaters and park 'concerts': "I'd be playing songs from these shows months before the song copies came out. That astonished a lot of people and they'd ask where I heard these numbers and I'd tell them at the theatre where my parents had taken me." Later Hines was to say that he was playing piano around Pittsburgh "before the word 'jazz' was even invented".
At the age of 17, and with his father's approval, Hines moved away from home to take a job playing piano with Lois Deppe & his "Symphonian Serenaders" in the Liederhaus, a Pittsburgh nightclub. He got his board, two meals a day and $15 a week. Deppe was a well-known baritone who sang both classical and popular numbers. Deppe used the young Hines as his accompanist and took Hines on his concert-trips to New York. Hines' first recordings were accompanying Deppe — 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 to record spirituals and popular songs.
Then, in the poolroom at Chicago's Musicians' Union on State & 39th, Earl Hines met Louis Armstrong. Hines was 21, Armstrong 24. They played together at the Union piano. Armstrong was 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" - as indeed they could.
Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia says: ... [Hines'] most dramatic departure from what other pianists were then playing was his approach to the underlying pulse: he would charge against the metre of the piece being played, accent off-beats, introduce sudden stops and brief silences. In other hands this might sound clumsy or all over the place but Hines could keep his bearings with uncanny resilience.
Armstrong and Hines became good friends, shared a car, and Armstrong joined Hines in Carroll Dickerson's band at the Sunset Cafe. In 1927, this became Louis Armstrong's band under the musical direction of Hines. Later that year, Armstrong revamped his Okeh Records recording-only 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,including their trumpet and piano duet Weatherbird (1928).
... 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" and "Muggles".
The Sunset Cafe closed in 1927. Hines, Armstrong and their drummer, Zutty Singleton, agreed they would be, "'The Unholy Three', stick together and not play for anyone unless the three of us were hired" but, trying to establish their own Warwick Hall Club as 'Louis Armstrong and his Stompers' (with Hines as musical director and the premises rented in Hines' name) they ran into difficulties. Hines went briefly to New York to return to find that in his absence Armstrong and Singleton had re-joined their now-rival Carroll Dickerson's band at the new The Savoy Ballroom – a fact which left Hines "warm". Hines joined clarinetist Jimmie Noone at The Apex, an after-hours speakeasy, playing from midnight to 6am, seven nights a week. Hines recorded with Noone, again with Armstrong and late in 1928 recorded his first piano solos, eight for QRS Records in New York then seven for Okeh Records in Chicago, all except two his own compositions. He moved in with Kathryn Perry with whom he had recorded "Sadie Green The Vamp of New Orleans" but Hines had also begun rehearsing his own big band. At 24 his big break was about to come.
On December 28, 1928 (so on his 25th birthday and six weeks before the Saint Valentine's Day massacre) the always-immaculate Hines opened at Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe leading his own big band, the pinnacle of jazz ambition at the time. "All America was dancing", Hines said and for the next 12 years and through the worst of the Great Depression and Prohibition Earl Hines was "The Orchestra" at The Grand Terrace. The Hines Orchestra – or 'Organization' as Hines preferred it – had up to 28 musicians and did three shows a night at The Grand Terrace, four shows every Saturday and sometimes did Sundays. "Earl Hines and The Grand Terrace were to Chicago what Duke Ellington and The Cotton Club were to New York - but fierier."
The Grand Terrace was controlled by Al Capone - so Hines became Capone's "Mr Piano Man" with the Grand Terrace upright piano soon replaced by a white $3,000 Bechstein grand. Talking about those days Hines later said:
... Al [Capone] came in there one night and called the whole band and show together and said, "Now we want to let you know our position. We just want you people just to attend to your own business. We'll give you all the Protection in the world but we want you to be like the 3 monkeys: you hear nothing and you see nothing and you say nothing". And that's what we did. And I used to hear many of the things that they were going to do but I never did tell anyone. Sometimes the Police used to come in ... looking for a fall guy and say, "Earl what were they talking about?" ... but I said, "I don't know - no, you're not going to pin that on me," because they had a habit of putting the pictures of different people that would bring information in the newspaper and the next day you would find them out there in the lake somewhere swimming around with some chains attached to their feet if you know what I mean.
From The Grand Terrace, Hines and his band broadcast on "open mikes" over many years, sometimes seven nights a week, coast-to-coast across America — Chicago being well placed to deal with the U.S. live-broadcasting time-zone problem. Earl Hines' became the most broadcast band in America. Among his listeners were a young Nat "King" Cole and Jay McShann in Kansas City, who said his "real education came from Earl Hines. When 'Fatha' went off the air, I went to bed." But Hines' most significant "student" was Art Tatum from Toledo, Ohio who was six years younger than Hines.
Each summer, Hines toured his whole band for three months, including through the South - the first black big-band to do so. "When we traveled by train through the South, they would send a porter back to our car to let us know when the dining room was cleared, and then we would all go in together. We couldn't eat when we wanted to. We had to eat when they were ready for us." But Hines may have been downplaying how things in reality were. In Duke Ellington's America Harvey G Cohen writes:-
... In 1931, Earl Hines and his Orchestra "were the first big Negro band to travel extensively through the South". Hines referred to it as an "invasion" rather than a "tour". Between a bomb exploding under their bandstage in Alabama (" ...we didn't none of us get hurt but we didn't play so well after that either") and numerous threatening encounters with the Police, the experience proved so harrowing that Hines in the 1960s recalled that, "You could call us the first Freedom Riders". For the most part, any contact with whites, even fans, was viewed as dangerous. Finding places to eat or stay overnight entailed a constant struggle. The only non-musical 'victory' that Hines claimed was winning the respect of a clothing-store owner who initially treated Hines with derision until it became clear that Hines planned to spend $85 on shirts, "which changed his whole attitude".
The Birth of Bebop
It was from Hines that saxophonist Charlie Parker gained a big break, 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 band stage in his attempts to do so. The Grand Terrace Cafe had closed suddenly in December 1940 with the manager, "Cigar-puffing Ed Fox", 'not to be found'. The 37-year-old Hines, always famously good to work for, took his band on the road full-time for the next 8 years, resisting renewed offers from Benny Goodman to join his band. Several of the Hines band members were drafted to fight in World War II - a major problem. Six members were drafted in 1943 alone. As a result, on 19 August 1943 Hines had to cancel the rest of his Southern tour. He went to New York and hired a 'draft-proof' 12-piece all-women group including Angel Creasy, Lolita Valdez, Helen Way and Sylvia Medford on violin, Ardine Loving on cello, Roxanna Lucas and Rene Hall on guitar, Lucille Dixon on bass, Judy Gardner on accordion, Angie Gardner on alto and Lavilla Tulos on harp. It lasted two months. Next, Hines expanded it into a 28-piece band (17 men, 11 women) including strings and a French horn. Despite these war-time difficulties Hines toured his bands coast-to-coast across America but he was still able to take time out from his own band to front the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 while Duke fell ill.
It was during this time (and especially during the 1942–44 musicians' strike recording ban) that members of the Hines' band's late-night jam-sessions laid the seeds for the emerging new style in jazz, Bebop. Duke Ellington was later to say that, "the seeds of bop were in Earl Hines's piano style" while Charlie Parker's biographer Ross Russell wrote:
... The Earl Hines Orchestra of 1942 had been infiltrated by the jazz revolutionaries. Each section had its cell of insurgents. The band's sonority bristled with flatted fifths, off triplets and other material of the new sound scheme. Fellow bandleaders of a more conservative bent warned Hines that he had recruited much too well and was sitting on a powder keg.
World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis heard the band playing a 2,000 people one-nighter in Kansas City on 25 July 1942 and said, "The Father sounds terrific". A year later the Hines' band Kansas City one-night audience was up to 3,500.
... In 1943 I heard the great Earl Hines band which had Bird in it and all those other great musicians. They were playing all the flatted fifth chords and all the modern harmonies and substitutions and Dizzy Gillespie runs in the trumpet section work. Two years later I read that that was 'bop' and the beginning of modern jazz ... but the band never made recordings.
... People talk about the Hines band being 'the incubator of bop' and the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Hines band. But people also have the erroneous impression that the music was new. It was not. The music evolved from what went before. It was the same basic music. The difference was in how you got from here to here to here ... naturally each age has got its own shit".
The links to Bebop remained close. Charlie Parker's discographer, among others, has argued that "Yardbird Suite", which Parker recorded with Miles Davis in March 1946, was in fact based on Hines' "Rosetta" which nightly served as the Hines band theme-tune.
... We had a beautiful, beautiful band with Earl Hines. He's a master and you learn a lot from him, self-discipline and organization. Earl Hines was the pianist in his band and I mean he played some piano. We used to make him play longer solos. We'd say, "Play another one, Gates". And he'd go again. They'd say, "Lay out, lay out, lay out …" and we wouldn't come in. Earl had to play again. He'd look up and keep playing and grinning. You couldn't flush him … no matter what you did. We wouldn't come in when we were supposed to and make him play another chorus. He'd be sweating, man, but he's so cool, he's the epitome of perfection. Earl Hines is the master of composure. He is class personified. I don't know a classier musician or a classier person in any field than Earl Hines".
Charlie Parker, famously unreliable, 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".
In July 1946 Hines received serious head injuries in a car crash near Houston which, despite an operation, affected his eyesight for the rest of his life but, back on the road again four months later, he continued to lead his big band for two more years. In 1947 he bought the biggest nightclub in Chicago, The El Grotto - the showgirls were called The Grottoettes - but it soon foundered, Hines losing $30,000 ($358362 in 2013 dollars). In reality the big-band era was over - Hines had had his for 20 years.
In early 1948 Hines joined up again with Armstrong in what became the "Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars" 'small-band'. It was not without its strains for Hines. A year later Armstrong became the first jazz musician ever to appear on the cover of Time Magazine. Armstrong was by then on his way to becoming an American icon, leaving Hines to feel he was now being used as only a sideman in comparison to his old friend. Armstrong said of the difficulties, mainly over billing, "Hines and his ego, ego, ego ...." but after 3 years and to Armstrong's annoyance, in 1951 Hines left the "All Stars".
Next, back as leader again, Hines took his own small combos around the States. He started with a markedly more modern line-up than the ageing "All Stars": Bennie Green, Art Blakey, Tommy Potter, Etta Jones. In 1954 he toured his then seven-piece group nationwide with the Harlem Globetrotters (in fact from Chicago) but, at the start of the jazz-lean 1960s and old enough now to retire and take up bowling, Hines settled "home" in Oakland, California, with his wife and two young daughters, Janear and Tosca, opened a tobacconist's and came close to giving up the profession.
Then, in 1964, thanks to Stanley Dance, Earl Hines' determined friend and unofficial manager, Hines was "suddenly rediscovered" following a series of 'recitals' at The Little Theatre in New York that Dance had cajoled him into. They were the first piano 'recitals' Hines - always thinking of himself as "just a band pianist" - had ever given. These 'recitals' caused a sensation. "What is there left to hear after you've heard Earl Hines?", asked The New York Times. Hines then won the 1966 "International Critics Poll" for Down Beat Magazine's "Hall of Fame". Down Beat also elected him the world's "No 1 Jazz Pianist" in 1966 (and did so again five further times). Jazz Journal awarded his LPs of the year first and second in their overall poll and first, second and third in their piano category.Jazz voted him "Jazzman of the Year", voted him their no. 1 and no. 2 in their piano recordings category and he was on Johnny Carson's and Mike Douglas' TV shows.
But the most highly regarded recordings of this period are his solo performances, "a whole orchestra by himself".Whitney Balliett wrote of his solo recordings and performances of this time:
... Hines will be sixty-seven this year and his style has become involuted, rococo, and subtle to the point of elusiveness. It unfolds in orchestral layers and it demands intense listening. Despite the sheer mass of notes he now uses, his playing is never fatty. Hines may go along like this in a medium tempo blues. He will play the first two choruses softly and out of tempo, unreeling placid chords that safely hold the kernel of the melody. By the third chorus, he will have slid into a steady but implied beat and raised his volume. Then, using steady tenths in his left hand, he will stamp out a whole chorus of right-hand chords in between beats. He will vault into the upper register in the next chorus and wind through irregularly placed notes, while his left hand plays descending, on-the-beat, chords that pass through a forest of harmonic changes. (There are so many push-me, pull-you contrasts going on in such a chorus that it is impossible to grasp it one time through.) In the next chorus—bang!—up goes the volume again and Hines breaks into a crazy-legged double-time-and-a-half run that may make several sweeps up and down the keyboard and that are punctuated by offbeat single notes in the left hand. Then he will throw in several fast descending two-fingered glissandos, go abruptly into an arrhythmic swirl of chords and short, broken, runs and, as abruptly as he began it all, ease into an interlude of relaxed chords and poling single notes. But these choruses, which may be followed by eight or ten more before Hines has finished what he has to say, are irresistible in other ways. Each is a complete creation in itself, and yet each is lashed tightly to the next. Hines' sudden changes in dynamics, tempo, and texture are dramatic but not melodramatic; the ham lurking in the middle distance never gets any closer. And Hines is a perfervid pianist; he gives the impression that he has shut himself up completely within his instrument, that he is issuing chords and runs and glisses not merely through its keyboard and hammers and strings but directly from its soul.
Solo tributes to Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter were all put on record in the 1970s, sometimes on the 1904 12-legged Steinway (unique and famously ornate) given to him in 1969 by Scott Newhall, managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1974, so now in his seventies, Hines recorded sixteen LPs. "A spate of solo recording meant that, in his old age, Hines was being comprehensively documented at last, and he rose to the challenge with consistent inspirational force". Between his 1964 "come-back" and up to when he died, Hines recorded over 100 LPs all over the world. Within the industry, he became legendary for going into a studio and coming out an hour-and-a-half later with a famously-unplanned solo LP behind him including discussion and coffee time - and ideally a brandy or two. Retakes were almost unheard of except when Hines wanted to try a tune again in some, often completely, "other way".
Pianist Lennie Tristano said of these recordings, "Earl Hines is the ONLY one of us capable of creating real jazz and real swing when playing all alone." To Horace Silver, "He has a completely unique style. No one can get that sound, no other pianist". Erroll Garner said, "When you talk about greatness, you talk about Art Tatum and Earl Hines". To Count Basie, Hines was "The greatest piano player in the world".
Arguably still playing as well as he ever had, Hines displayed individualistic quirks (including grunts) in these performances. He now sometimes sang as he played, especially his own "They Didn't Believe I Could Do It—Neither Did I". In 1975, Hines was the subject of an hour-long television documentary film made by ATV (for Britain's commercial ITV channel), out-of-hours at the Blues Alley nightclub in Washington, DC. The New York Herald Tribune described it as "The greatest jazz film ever made". In that film Hines said, "The way I like to play is that ... I'm an explorer, if I might use that expression, I'm looking for something all the time ... almost like I'm trying to talk." He played solo in The White House (twice) and played solo for The Pope - and played (and sang) his last show in San Francisco a few days before he died in Oakland, quite likely somewhat older than he had always maintained. As he had wished, his Steinway had a very much "All Star" Christie's auction for the benefit of gifted low-income music students, still bearing its silver plaque: "presented by jazz lovers from all over the world. this piano is the only one of its kind in the world and expresses the great genius of a man who has never played a melancholy note in his lifetime on a planet that has often succumbed to despair".
In his autobiography, Count Basie wrote, "Earl … was such a great stylist. He changed the whole style of piano playing …"
The Oxford Companion to Jazz says of Hines' early style:-
... The most important pianist in the transition from stride to swing was Earl "Fatha" Hines. As he matured through the 1920s, he simplified the stride "orchestral piano", eventually arriving at a prototypical swing style. The right hand no longer developed syncopated patterns around pivot notes (as in ragtime) or between-the-hands figuration (as in stride) but instead focused on a more directed melodic line, often doubled at the octave with phrase-ending tremolos. This line was called the "trumpet" right hand because of its markedly hornlike character but in fact the general trend toward a more linear style can be traced back through stride and Jelly Roll Morton to late ragtime from 1915 to 1920.
Hines himself said of his early style when, at 21, he first met Louis Armstrong, "Louis looked at me so peculiar. So I said, "Am I making the wrong chords?" And he said, "No, but your style is like mine". So I said, "Well, I wanted to play trumpet but it used to hurt me behind my ears so I played on the piano what I wanted to play on the trumpet". And he said, "No, no, that's my style, that's what I like"'. Hines went on to say, "I was curious and wanted to know what the chords were made of. I would begin to play like the other instruments. But in those days we didn't have amplification, so the singers used to use megaphones and they didn't have grand-pianos for us to use at the time - it was an upright. So when they gave me a solo, playing single fingers like I was doing, in those great big halls they could hardly hear me. So I had to think of something so I could cut through the big-band. So I started to use what they call 'trumpet-style' - which was octaves. Then they could hear me out front and that's what changed the style of piano playing at that particular time".
... Hines was both a great soloist and a great rhythm player. He has a beautiful powerful rhythmic approach to the keyboard and his rhythms are more eccentric than those of Art Tatum or Fats Waller. When I say eccentric, I mean getting away from straight 4/4 rhythm. He would play a lot of what we now call 'accent on the and beat'. This is the beat that comes between the 4/4 quarter note beats. Hines accented it by starting a note between the 4/4 beats. He would do this with great authority and attack. It was a subtle use of syncopation, playing on the in-between beats or what I might call and beats: one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and. The and between "one-two-three-four" is implied, When counted in music, the and becomes what are called eighth notes. So you get eight notes to a bar instead of four, although they're spaced out in the time of four. 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. All great players have this but Hines has a very marked gift for it. I have seen him play solo at the Regal Theatre in Chicago and, after only a few moments, he had the whole audience clapping their hands in time to his music and he was playing the piano alone on that vast stage with no rhythm section to help him. He had such a beautiful approach to playing rhythmic piano that he could easily move an audience. Hines is very intricate in his rhythm patterns: very unusual and original and there is really nobody like him. That makes him a giant of originality. He could produce improvised piano solos which could cut through to perhaps 2,000 dancing people just like a trumpet or a saxophone could.
Jazz says of the Hines style of the time:
...To make [himself] audible, [Hines] developed an ability to improvise in tremolos (the speedy alternation of two or more notes, creating a pianistic version of the brass man's vibrato) and octaves or tenths: instead of hitting one note at a time with his right hand, he hit two and with vibrantly percussive force – his reach was so large that jealous competitors spread the ludicrous rumor that he had had the webbing between his fingers surgically removed.
Of Hines' later style, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz says of Hines' 1965 style [so 40 years later when Hines was in his early sixties]:-
... [Hines] uses his left hand sometimes for accents and figures that would only come from a full trumpet section. Sometimes he will play chords that would have been written and played by five saxophones in harmony. But he is always the virtuoso pianist with his arpeggios, his percussive attack and his fantastic ability to modulate from one song to another as if they were all one song and he just created all those melodies during his own improvisation.
Later still, then in his seventies and after a number solo recordings, Hines himself said, "I'm an explorer if I might use that expression. I'm looking for something all the time. And oft-times I get lost. And people that are around me a lot know that when they see me smiling, they know I'm lost and I'm trying to get back. But it makes it much more interesting because then you do things that surprise yourself. And after you hear the recording, it makes you a little bit happy too because you say, "Oh, I didn't know I could do THAT!"
Hines' first-ever recording was, apparently, made on October 3, 1923 at Richmond, Indiana, when he was aged 19. Records commercially available as new, as of March 2012, are shown emboldened in the lists below.
The 1930s, classic jazz and the swing era:
Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines: inc. "Weatherbird", "Muggles", "Tight Like This", "West End Blues" : Columbia 1928: reissued many times inc. as The Smithsonian Collection MLP 2012
^Controversy persists over the origins of the name "Fatha". The most common account is that a radio announcer (some say Ted Pearson), possibly after Hines had accused him of being drunk, announced, slurringly, "Here comes 'Fatha' Hines thru the deep forest with his children", "Deep Forest" being the band's signature tune (Cooke, R., Jazz Encyclopedia, ISBN 978-0-14-102646-6). Others have suggested it was because Hines had "… given birth to a style - more than a style, a virtual language - of jazz piano". Epstein, D. M., Nat King Cole, Chapter 1, 1999, Farrar Straus & Giroux, ISBN 0-374-21912-5.
^From the 120-page interview with Hines in The World of Earl Hines by Stanley Dance (p. 7), Hines quotes his year of birth as 1905. Most sources agree 1903 is correct.
^"PBS: Ken Burns Jazz". PBS.org quoting The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-03-24.
^Hines' father was a foreman in the coal-docks. His mother had died when he was three but Hines was always very appreciative of his upbringing in a 12-room house with his father, his stepmother ["who did a great job"], his grandparents, two cousins, two uncles and an aunt. There was a smallholding at the back with two cows, pigs, chickens. "We needed to buy very little so far as food was concerned, because we raised nearly everything that we ate." Dance, p. 7.
^Including "Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child" and "For the Last Time Call Me Sweetheart".
^"Eubie Blake used to come through town once in a while and the first time I met him he told me, 'Son, you have no business here. You got to leave Pittsburgh'. He came through again while we were at the Grape Arbor and when he saw me he said, 'You still here? I'm going to take this cane' – he always carried a cane and wore a raccoon coat and a brown derby – 'and wear it out all over your head if you're not gone when I come back'. I was". Whitney Balliett, 72 Portraits in Jazz, pp. 101-102.
^"Teddy Weatherford, the pianist, was it in Chicago then and soon people began telling him, 'There's a tall skinny kid from Pittsburgh plays piano. You'd better hear him'. Teddy and I became friends and we'd go around together and both play and people began to notice me". Whitney Balliett, 72 Portraits in Jazz, p. 102.
^The Sunset billboard said, "The Sunset Cafe. Chicago's Brightest Pleasure Spot. DINE - Colored Revue Extraordinary! - DANCE": photo in Dance, p. 45.
^Dance, p. 45. Also, "According to Hines, he was sitting there playing 'The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else' when Armstrong walked in and began to play along"; Collier, p. 158.
^"He was called 'Satchelmouth' and I was called 'Gatemouth'": Dance, p. 52. Epstein says, "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".
^Richard Cook and Brian Morton The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD: Seventh Edition, p. 46
^"None of us knew we were making history", said 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 1920s, recordings that are now recognized as enduring jazz masterpieces. "To us, every one of those sessions was just one more recording and if people liked it, that was fortunate for us. I didn't know those recordings were any good, to tell you the truth". New York Times, August 28, 1981, Robert Palmer: "Fatha Hines: Stomping and chomping on at 75".
^At various time Hines played much of Chicago's "Bright-Light" district: The Elite Club, The Regal Theatre, The Apex Club, The Platinum Lounge, The Vendome Theatre, The Grand Terrace, The New Grand Terrace, The Sunset Café, The Savoy Ballroom, Warwick Hall. See key to map of Chicago South Side jazz c.1915-1930 at University of Chicago Jazz Archive (The Leon Lewis map).
^The Chicago Defender advert read: "Dance Every Wednesday and Saturday night and Sunday Afternoon. Staring Wed Dec 14 1927": Chicago Defender, October 12, 1927.
^"The Savoy Ballroom opened for business on Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, 1927. With more than a half-acre of dancing space, the Savoy had a capacity of over four thousand persons. The ballroom's name recalled the enormously popular and highly regarded dance palace of the same name in New York's Harlem, which had opened a little more than a year earlier. In its review of the Savoy, the Defender, Chicago's leading black newspaper, extolled the modern features of the new ballroom: "Never before have Chicagoans seen anything quite as lavish as the Savoy ballroom. Famous artists have transformed the building into a veritable paradise, each section more beautiful than the other. The feeling of luxury and comfort one gets upon entering is quite ideal and homelike, and the desire to stay and dance and look on is generated with each moment of your visit. Every modern convenience is provided. In addition to a house physician and a professional nurse for illness or accident, there is an ideal lounging room for ladies and gentlemen, luxuriously furnished, a boudoir room for milady's makeup convenience, an ultra modern checking room which accommodates 6,000 hats and coats individually hung so that if one comes in with his or her coat crushed or wrinkled it is in better condition when leaving." Such modern amenities not only lent an "atmosphere of refinement" to the ballroom that reflected the class pretensions of upwardly mobile black Chicagoans, but also decreased the likelihood that the Savoy would draw fire from those advocating the closure of disorderly dance establishments. An adjacent 1,000-space parking lot also likely appealed to more prosperous black Chicagoans. The music never stopped at the Savoy. From 1927 until 1940, two bands were engaged every night to permit continuous dancing. When one band took a break, another was on hand to play on. During these years, the Savoy was open seven days a week, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Although most of the Savoy's patrons were black, growing numbers of white Chicagoans visited the Savoy to hear and dance to the great jazz bands of the day". Jazz Age Chicago - Urban Leisure from 1893-1945: Internet only.
^When Armstrong and Singleton later asked him to join them with Dickerson at The Savoy Ballroom Hines said, "No, you guys left me in the rain and broke the little corporation we had": Dance, p. 55.
^Hines made 14 sides with Noone inc. his own "My Monday Date". Hugues Panassie wrote on the Decca rerelease sleevenote, "Good as they are, the subsequent Noone records, made without Earl, never had the brilliance and the impetus Hines gave the 'Apex Club' series. Earl was just starting then to be the influence on most pianists and these Noon records were among those his disciples kept listening to and studying ..."
^Hines and Armstrong recorded 38 still-existing sides in 1927 and, mainly, 1928. Armstrong left for New York in December 1928
^In 1928 alone Hines recorded over 40 still-existing sides
^Of the NY recordings Jeffrey Taylor writes, "One senses that … Hines was allowed to play precisely what & how he chose, his creativity limited only by the 3-minute recording length of the 78rpm discs": Taylor Selected piano solos: 1928-1941, Volume 56, p. 4. 42 years later Hines was to re-record all 15 for Earl Hines: Quintessential Recording Session on Chiaruscuro CR101 [The NY sides] and Earl Hines: Quintessential Continued CR120 [The Chicago sides]. "As he drank a cup of coffee, [Hines] listened attentively to records of himself playing 41 years earlier, amused to hear them again. Six he had long since forgotten. He lit his pipe. He was ready to begin. The new interpretations are definitive, each made in one take, effervescent, full or rhythmic life and liberty, unpredictable in their vertiginous twists and turns. They are true improvisations and he could not – nor would he ever attempt to – play them quite this way again": Dance on sleeve note to CR101.
^Hines said of her, "She'd been at The Sunset too, in a dance act. She was a very charming, pretty girl. She had a good voice and played the violin. I had been divorced and she became my common-law wife. We lived in a big apartment and her parents stayed with us": Dance, p. 65. Perry recorded several times with Hines including, in 1935, "Body & Soul" on Female Blues Singers Document 5516. They stayed together till 1940 when Hines "divorced" her to marry Ann Jones Reed, but this was soon "indefinitely postponed": Dance, p. 298. Hines then married Janie Moses in 1947 and they had two daughters, Janear (born 1950) and Tosca.
^See extensive interview with Hines about this period in Earl "Fatha" Hines, one-hour "solo" TV documentary made in Washington DC for ATV, England, 1975: see References
^Dance, sleeve note to Earl Hines - South Side Swing 1934/5.
^According to drummer Jo Jones, born in Chicago, "So far as I know, Earl had to play with a knife at his throat and a gun at his back the whole time he was in Chicago": The Rough Guide to Jazz, p. 363.
^Epstein, Cole's biographer writes, "Every kid pianist in the Midwest copied Earl Hines. Little Nat Cole learned to play jazz piano by listening to Gatemouth [Hines] 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." Chapter 1.
^According to pianist Teddy Wilson and saxophonist Eddie Barefield, "Art Tatum's favorite jazz piano player was Earl Hines. He [Tatum] used to buy all of Earl's records and would improvise on them. He'd play the record but he'd improvise over what Earl was doing ... course, when you heard Art play you didn't hear nothing of anybody but Art. But he got his ideas from Earl's style of playing - but Earl never knew that". From James Kester, "Too Marvelous for Words": The Life and Genius of Art Tatum, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 57-58. ISBN 0-19-508365-2
^Allen, Steve. "The Return of Jess Stacy." unknown newspaper, undated. Southeast Missouri State University Special Collections and Archives, The Jess Stacy Collection
^'To know Nat Cole you must first know Earl Hines, his artistic father. Every kid pianist in the Midwest copied Earl Hines. Little Nat Cole learned to play jazz piano by listening to 'Gatemouth' [Earl Hines] 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': Epstein, D. M., Nat King Cole, 1999, Farrar Straus & Giroux, ISBN 0-374-21912-5, Chapter One.
^James Baldwin on Earl Hines, New York Times, October 16, 1977.
^Hines also gave vocalist Herb Jeffries his big break during the Chicago World's Fair - Century of Progress Exposition in 1933. Jeffries sang with the Hines' Orchestra on their national live broadcasts from the Grand Terrace as well as on recordings – including "Just to be in Caroline" 1934. During his trips to the South singing with the Hines band, Jeffries first encountered discrimination. "I saw there were hundreds of tin-roofed theaters, segregated for blacks only," he says. "They played white cowboy pictures because there were no black cowboys in the movies." Jeffries vowed to correct this inequity via "race films" - movies acted by and produced for African Americans (LA Times, David Davis, April 3, 2003).
^'"All right", Hines said, "I'll buy you a tenor saxophone. You can join us tomorrow." Hines stripped a $10 bill off the impressive roll carried by bandleaders on their talent scouting trips, told Charlie to buy himself a clean shirt and wrote down the address of the studio in midtown Manhattan where the band was rehearsing': Ross Russell: p. 144
^Ross Russell: p. 150 (for much about this and Parker's time with Hines see p. 149 on).
^See for instance Ray Nance, "Earl was wonderful to work for ...": The World of Duke Ellington, p. 136, and Willie Cook, "Earl used psychology. He had everybody loving that band": The World of Duke Ellington, p. 179.
^A 1949 Downbeat interview with Charlie Parker said, "[With Hines, Charlie Parker] started out getting more money than he had ever seen before - $105 a week. With Jay McShann he had gotten $55 to $60": Downbeat, "The Great Jazz Interviews", p. 35.
^For their astonishing coast-coast schedule over the next eight years see Dance, pp. 299-234.
^"Father Hines Loses Plenty of Children," Variety, August 18, 1943
^Hines himself was only just outside draftable age. On 5 December 1942 a Presidential Executive Order changed the age range for the Draft from 21-45 to 18-38 (3 weeks after the Order, on December 28 Hines was 39) and ended voluntary enlistment: see Conscription in the United States
^In Harlem's Golden Gate Ballroom - big enough for 5,000 dancers - on March 22, 1944, and thru' the following week in Newark NJ. 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". Ratliff, p. 202.
^Dance (p. 90) says, "Ellington had a way of saying serious things about music casually but ... then I realized [Ellington] had in mind the revolution Hines effected in the function of the jazz pianist's left hand".
^Ross Russell, Bird Lives! The High Life And Hard Times Of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker, p. 146.
^Hines' recordings 1929-1950: Besides the already mentioned QRS and OKeh piano solos, Hines' band was signed by Victor in February 1929 through the end of the year, recording 16 sides, most of which were issued on 78. After a recording break, he signed with Brunswick in June 1932 through March 1934, where he recorded 25 sides. Hines then signed with Decca in late 1934 and through early 1935, recording 16 sides. Hines didn't record again until signing with Vocalion in early 1937, where he recorded 18 sides though March 1938. From July 1939 on, Hines recorded extensively for Victor's Bluebird label through 1942 and up to the three-year US recording ban which silenced so important a part of the Hines' band history and its pivotal role in the emergence of Be-bop. After WWII Hines recorded for Signature, Apollo, ARA, Jazz Selection, Sunrise, and MGM through 1950 including his own composition 'Bop Omlette' [sic] with his Swingtette in 1948 [MGM 48-S-455] issued in England.
^Komara, Parker's discographer, says, "Track 2 Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker): 32 measures AABA chorus, based on the chords of "Rosetta" (Earl Hines): key of C 4/4 meter" with a further page [p. 67] of detail. "The piece dates back to Parker's tenure with Jay McShann in 1940-1942 when it was known as "What Price Love" as well as "Yardbird Suite". The harmonic model is "Rosetta" composed by Earl Hines and Henri Woode. Of the four takes waxed by Parker for Dial, only the first and last survive". p. 122. Reissued as 'Charlie Parker on Dial': Spotlite SPJ-CD 4-101:The Complete Sessions CD 1993 [also on LP 1970, Spotlite LP101 Vol I]
^Stanley Dance: liner notes to Earl Hines at Home: Delmark DD 212.
^Both Hines' daughters were to die before him: Tosca of a heroin overdose (see Pomona CA coroner's report of 11/27/76) and Janear on 3/2/81 (at Kaiser Hospital, San Francisco). His wife, "Janie Hines" (Emeria), divorced him on June 14, 1979.
^Time was perhaps running out for Hines' generation. Louis Armstrong had had a heart attack in 1959 and, according to his biographer, perhaps "should have retired to ponder his scrapbook": Collier, James Lincoln (1983). Hines, on the other hand, was to keep on going and developing into old age in a way rare among jazz musicians.
^"Spontaneous Improvisations" and "The Grand Terrace Band" and "Spontaneous Improvisations", "The Real Earl Hines" and "Fatha.""
^Hines played on a New Orleans-Cuba cruise with Getz, Gillespie & Ry Cooder in 1977 and performed there with Cuban musicians in the early days of the USA & Cuba "thaw".
^On 24 May 1980 Hines was asked to appear for a 2nd time on Britain's BBC's 'Desert Island Discs' - a rare distinction. As his favourite disc of all Hines chose Dinah Washington's 'Trust in Me'.
^In the words of commentator Donald Clarke, "Hines, Earl", MusicWeb Encyclopedia of Popular Music.
^Whitney Balliett, Collected Works: A Journal of Jazz, 1954-2000, p. 361.
^The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 7th edition, p. 781.
^See, for instance, producer Hank O'Neal's sleeve notes to Earl Hines in New Orleans, 1977 [solo]: Chiaroscuro CR(D) 200.
^Dance, p. 5. A typical example of this is the three alternative and dramatically different versions of "Rose Room" that Hines recorded over less than half an hour in Paris in 1965 (all three on Earl Hines Fatha's Hands).
^Stanley Dance: liner notes to "Earl Hines at Home": Delmark DD 212. As well as The World of Earl Hines, Dance also wrote The World of Count Basie (Da Capo Press, 1985), ISBN 0-306-80245-7
^The Tri City Herald, April 24, 1983, said: "In a recent interview Hines told a reporter, 'Usually they give people credit when they're dead. I got my flowers while I was living.'"
^Charles Fox writing in The Essential Jazz Records, Vol 1, p. 487, said of "Tour de Force2 recorded solo in 1972, "The pianist was still at his dazzling best when he made this LP at the age of 69. This is Hines in excelsis, sounding as good as at any time in his long career". Writing about Hines' July 3, 1974 Concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Derek Jewell wrote in Britain's Sunday Times: "The packed house must have regarded his opening unaccompanied solo as one of the greatest jazz experiences of their lives." Hines was then 70 years old.
^For President Giscard d'Estaing of France and also for Duke Ellington's White House 70th birthday party: Dance, The World of Duke Ellington, p. 4, says of Ellington's 70th there: "Earl Hines brought the concert to its peak in three thrilling choruses of 'Perdido'. Such excited, shouted, approval as greeted this performance can seldom have been heard in the White House before": The World of Duke Ellington, p. 288.
^UC Berkeley News, José Rodríguez, December 8, 2009: also Robert Doerschuck, p. 28.
^In 1979 Hines also became Regents' Lecturer at UC Berkeley and had a special interest in furthering music education, particularly that of African-American students. When he died, "He stipulated that a portion of his estate be dedicated to such purposes. In addition to supporting the education of young pianists in the classical and jazz traditions, Hines monetary gift — in excess of $257,900 — will also allow the program to fund guest artists who spend several weeks teaching and mentoring students at UC Berkeley during the summer. Up until now, guest artists were often asked to donate part of their time, due to lack of funds. "Oftentimes, kids have dreams with no means to realize them, but this program is designed to encourage them to touch their dreams and make them real," said Daisy Newman, executive director of the Young Musicians Program. 'The Earl "Fatha" Hines Young Musicians Development Fund' will benefit students in the campus's Young Musicians Program, which provides year-round, individualized instruction to musically gifted low-income students in grades four to 12 at no cost to their families. The program was founded in 1968 by professor emeritus of music Michael Senturia with 20 students and three volunteer teachers, and has since grown into one of the leading music education programs in the nation with up to 90 students and 50 teachers. The program has spawned such luminaries as saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Benny Green, and drummer Will Kennedy. 'The Earl "Fatha" Hines Collection' — the other component of Earl Hines' overall gift — helps document the rise of Hines as one of jazz's early masters, and his continuing importance in jazz history in the 1940s as the leader of the first modern jazz big band, which included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine. "These materials not only document the career of a jazz pioneer, but they also illuminate decades of musical life in the Bay Area," said John Shepard, head librarian at the music library. A major strength of the Hines collection is the group of "charts" — the instrumentalists' performance parts — used by Hines' big band and smaller ensemble, said Shepard. Among the charts are numerous arrangements by luminaries such as Tadd Dameron and Budd Johnson, as well as memorabilia, correspondence, biographical materials and some interesting regalia, such as Hines' stage costumes and collection of fancy cufflinks. "This is an unusual kind of gift from an artist to a university," added Wilson, who said the only other comparable collections are at the Library of Congress, the Yale University Library, the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago and the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. The Hines collection "helps to support research in the field of African-American music, defined broadly as the wide range of extraordinary music genres that developed in African American culture," Wilson added; as reported in The Precinct Reporter