Earl Hines

Earl Hines

American jazz pianist
Date of Birth: 28.12.1903
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Earl Hines
  2. Early Life
  3. Early Career
  4. Breakthrough and Solo Career
  5. Big Band Leader
  6. Later Years and Legacy

Biography of Earl Hines

Early Life

Earl Kenneth Hines was born on December 28, 1903, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father played cornet in local ensembles, while his mother was an organist. At the age of eleven, Hines began taking private piano lessons and also played trumpet for a time.

Earl Hines

Early Career

Hines' first major job was accompanying vocalist Louis Deppe, with whom he made his first recording in 1922. The following year, Hines moved to Chicago, where he worked with Sammy Stewart and the Vendome Theatre Orchestra. In 1926, he joined forces with Louis Armstrong, and the two influential musicians mutually inspired each other. Hines briefly played in Armstrong's big band, which was previously led by Carroll Dickerson, and they also had an unsuccessful attempt at managing their own club.

Breakthrough and Solo Career

In 1928, Hines had a highly productive year. He recorded his first solo piano tracks, including versions of "A Monday Date," "Blues in Thirds," and "57 Varieties." He spent most of the year working with Jimmy Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, and their recordings are now considered classics. Hines also recorded brilliant discs with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, featuring timeless compositions like "West End Blues," "Fireworks," and "Basin Street Blues," as well as their superb piano and trumpet duet, "Weather Bird."

Big Band Leader

On his birthday, December 28th, Hines debuted his own big band at Chicago's Grand Terrace. Known for his excellent accompaniment and solo skills, Earl Hines led big bands for the next twenty years. Key players in his group during the 1930s included trumpeter and vocalist Walter Fuller, Ray Nance on violin and trumpet, trombonist Trummy Young, tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson, Omer Simeon and Darnell Howard on reeds, and arranger Jimmy Mundy. In 1940, Billy Eckstine became the band's vocalist, and in 1943, modernists such as Charlie Parker (on tenor saxophone), trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and singer Sarah Vaughan joined them, making the ensemble the first bebop orchestra.

Later Years and Legacy

In 1948, due to economic reasons, Hines disbanded his orchestra. He joined Louis Armstrong's All-Stars but left his friend in 1951 after three years in the background. He moved to Los Angeles and later to San Francisco to lead a Dixieland group, although his own style was much more modern. His group survived throughout the 1950s, occasionally playing with musicians from his old band, such as Darnell Howard. Hines continued to record and perform, although he was largely forgotten in the jazz world by the early 1960s. In 1964, jazz critic Stanley Dance organized three concerts for Hines at New York's Little Theater, both solo and in a quartet with Budd Johnson. New York critics were amazed by Hines' timeless creative potential, and his great comeback led to success that followed him until the end of his career. Hines toured the world with his quartet, recorded numerous albums, and left the stage only a week before his death at the age of seventy-nine. Most of Earl Hines' recordings are now available on compact discs.