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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke




Crotchet
 
Earl HINES (1903-1983)
The Earl: Original recordings 1928-1941

Also featuring Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet
Copenhagen
Wolverine Blues
Caution Blues
A Monday Date
Weather Bird
Fireworks
Body and Soul
Rosetta
Honeysuckle Rose
Child of a Disordered Brain
Indiana
I ain’t got Nobody
On the sunny side of the street
Piano Man
Lightly and Politely
My melancholy Baby
Boogie Woogie on St Louis Blues
Father steps in
Number 19
Deep Forest
Save it, Pretty Mama
The Earl

NAXOS JAZZ LEGENDS 8.120581 [62.59]


Twenty-two tracks from one of the finest jazz pianists of all time with his own orchestra, but also several tracks featuring him as pianist alone, where his genius as one of jazz’s most original improvisers emerges, or on one track in a duo with trumpeter Louis Armstrong in Weatherbird. Not many vocals, though Walter Fuller gives a foot-tapping rendition of Rosetta, but there’s also the chamber-music quality of the quartet run by Hines in the familiar Honeysuckle Rose.

Hines known to all connoisseurs as ‘Fatha’ could, in the words of one jazz commentator, ‘make any old-beat up provincial piano sound like a Bösendorfer concert grand.' His large hands covered the keys like tender tarantulas and somehow, within the confines of a dated style, he would manage to sound totally modern almost despite himself. He made his first record in 1924 and led a band in Chicago before, the following year leading the Hot Stompers, a group formed by Louis Armstrong with whom a professional love-hate relationship would develop over the years to come. During the '30s and '40s he worked Chicago and New York and became a renowned band leader, broadcasting frequently, using the arranging talents of such figures as Quinn Wilson and Budd Johnson, before joining the era of Swing by fusing the Harlem jump with bop, developing into big band bebop. From 1942 he took on such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan. He was in effect one of the most important influences in his field. As a jazz pianist he was most influenced by Jelly Roll Morton, though Fats Waller can be heard in Deep Forest. His career lasted to his death at the ripe old age of 80, this reviewer heard him on one of his European tours when he visited Britain. The joy about this recording is its diversity and the gallery of appearances by the best in his field with whom the Earl worked over so many years.

Christopher Fifield

‘Fatha’ could ‘make any old-beat up provincial piano sound like a Bösendorfer concert grand'.

 

 
 
 
 



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