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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Erroll Garner born 15 June 1921


Erroll Louis Garner (June 15, 1921 – January 2, 1977) was an American jazz pianist and composer whose distinctive and melodic style brought him both popular acclaim and the admiration of peers. It is a well-known fact that Garner was never able to read sheet music.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in 1921, Erroll began playing piano at the age of 3. He never learned to read music,
probably because it was never a necessity for him. He learned to play the 'novelty' styles of Zez Confrey and others from listening to 78 records, a style which used steady left hand chord rhythms to support very free right-hand melodic interpretations. This provided a perfect basis for the hard-swinging jazz style that Garner was to pioneer.

Garner, whose older brother Linton is also a fine pianist, appeared on the radio with the Kan-D-Kids at the age of ten. After working locally in Pittsburgh, he moved to New York in 1944 and worked with Slam Stewart's trio during 1944-45 before going out on his own. By 1946 Garner had his sound together and when he backed Charlie Parker on his famous "Cool Blues" session of 1947, the pianist was already an obvious giant. His unclassifiable style had an orchestral approach straight from the swing era but was open to the innovations of bop.
 

 

From the early '50s Garner's accessible style became very popular and he never seemed to have an off day up until his forced retirement (due to illness) in early 1975. His composition "Misty" became a standard. Erroll Garner, who had the ability to sit at the piano without prior planning and record three albums in one day (all colorful first takes), made many records throughout his career for such companies as Savoy, Mercury, RCA, Dial, Columbia, EmArcy, ABC-Paramount, MGM, Reprise and Octave.

One of the most distinctive of all pianists, Erroll Garner proved that it was possible to be a sophisticated player without knowing how to read music, that a creative jazz musician can be very popular
without watering down his music, and that it is possible to remain an enthusiastic player without changing one's style once it is formed. 

What made Erroll easy to recognize were his trademark introductions, that seemed to make no sense but broke dramatically into his exposition of the tune he was to play, and the guitar strumming sound of his left hand, playing crotchet accompaniment to his rich sounding right hand. He places his chords and octaves on syncopated beats that swing very hard and can be used to build excellent tension, such as between phrases. The approach also suggests he was influenced by the iconic rhythm guitar work of Count Basie's long time guitarist, Freddie Green. But discerning listeners could find that while his even four left hand was a fixture, it was far from being the only rhythmic approach he took to playing.

His playful free-form introductions (which forced his sidemen to really listen), his ability to play stunning runs without once glancing at the keyboard, his grunting and the pure joy that he displayed while performing were also part of the Erroll Garner magic.
Short in stature (5 ft 2 in), Garner performed sitting on multiple telephone directories.
 
Garner made many tours both at home and abroad, and produced a large volume of recorded work. He was, reportedly, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson's favorite jazz musician; Garner appeared on Carson's show many times over the years.

 

 Erroll Garner died from a cardiac arrest on January 2, 1977. He is buried in Pittsburgh's Homewood Cemetery.
(Info edited from AMG & Wikipedia)
 

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Erroll Garner - The Chronological Classics, Complete, 17 Albums (1944-1954)
go here for links: http://turbobit.net/download/folder/1424791

A big thankyou to http://get-together-77.blogspot.co.uk