Acrobat Music

Earl "Fatha" Hines, jazz pianist known as "Mr. Piano Man", was born on 29th Dec. 1903

Earl "Fatha" Hines, jazz pianist known as "Mr. Piano Man", was born on 29th Dec. 1903

Earl "Fatha Hines" was born on December 28th 1903, was part of a musical family- his father was a cornettist and bandleader, his stepmother a church organist - and he learnt cornet, and then piano, and recknoned he was playing piano in his native Pittsburgh before the word jazz was invented. He started working professionally aged 17 for aq local dance band, before moving to Chicago in 1925 where he met Louis Armstrong and played with him in Carroll Dickerson's Band.  Armstrong took over the band in 1927and as the Hot Five, they recorded some of the mosy important jazz records ever made - including most famously the Hines/Armstrong duet "Weatherbird". IN 1928 he also amde some fine solo recordings. That year he started leading his own big band, for 11 years performing in Chicago's Grand Terrace Cafe, controlled by Al Capone, who dubbed him "Mr. Piano Man". This band recorded for various labels right through to the recording ban of 1942-5, as well as broadcasting on an almost daily basis across the USA, in the process influencing the likes of Art Tatum and Jay McShann', and also introducing star vocalists like Billy Eckstine. The band toured the southern states every year, and many up-and-coming stars had stints with the band, notably Charlie Parker. In 1949 Hines rejoined Armstrong in his All Stars small band , before touring with his own combo through the 50s. he decided to retire to Oakland California in the early 60s, but in 1964 was tempted by friend Stanley dance out of retriement to do some recitals in New York, which were a sensation, leading to his winning the Downbeat Poll as No.1 Jazz Pianist in 1966 and for an other five years. For the next 20 years or so until his death, he continued to perform and record on a regular basis with many of the genre's leading players, making the best part of a hundred albums during that period, his faculties and technique never failing. He was a unique stylist, andn is rightly a legendary figure in the world of jazz. He played and sand his final show in San Francisco just days before he died at the age of 80 in Oakland in 1983. Acrobat has an album of his recordings in the late 60s with vocalist Marva Josie - for details click here.

 

 

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