Earl “Fatha” Hines was born in 1903. He said he started playing piano “before jazz was even a word.” By the time he was 25 he was leading his own orchestra and headlining in Chicago’s The Grand Terrace which was owned by Al Capone. His performances were broadcast on the radio from coast to coast. Many jazz legends got their start with Hines including, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole, and Billy Eckstine. Hines retired in the early 60s and opened a tobacco shop but by the middle of the decade he had been “rediscovered.” This video was recorded in Berlin in 1965 shortly after his rediscovery. The song is “Memories Of You” and it was written by Eubie Blake.
I chose this video today because I really like it but it made me think of my grandmother. I think my grandma had every single record Earl Hines ever made. In fact, when CDs were invented she went out and bought one of the criminally priced first generation players and then bought every recording he ever made again! He was her favorite artist to play (and swear) along with. I think it’s a shame she didn’t live long enough to see the internet really take off. She would have loved all the jazz videos on You Tube and I can just see her now, head tilted back to look through the sweet spot in her bifocal lenses, once again purchasing and downloading Hines’ entire catalog into a top of the line iPod (and swearing). Damn I was lucky to know her!