A Monday Date: EARL “FATHA” HINES and His Band
Earl Hines (p) Eddie Smith (tp) Jimmy Archey (tb) Darnell Howard (cl) Pops Foster (b) Earl Watkins (drs) vocal on Side1, #3 and Side 2, #4 by Hines
Recorded at “The Birdhouse,” Chicago, Ill.; September 7 & 8, 1961
Monday Date (2:07) (Earl Hines)
Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home (3:20) (Hughie Cannon; arr. Hines)
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? (1:55) (Delange – alter)
Lonesome Road (3:50) (trad./ arr. Hines)
Squeeze Me (3:58) (Waller – Williams)
Limehouse Blues (2:27) (Furber – Braham)
West End Blues (4:31) (Oliver – Williams)
Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby (2:54) (Kahn – Donaldson)
Caution Blues (2:18) (Earl Hines)
Mondy, Make Up Your Mind (2:34) (Johnston – Meyer – Turk – Clarke)
A Closer Walk with Thee (2:30) (trad./ arr. Hines)
Clarinet Marmalade (2:20) (Shields – Ragas)
Although it is a time-won opening, I Nevertheless with that it were possible to start these notes by writing: “EARL HINES needs no further introduction.”
However, this I cannot do, for Hine’s work has unfortunately been so neglected in recent years that he is virtually unknown to younger listeners – although the rest of us have surely not forgotten this pioneer whose influence reached far beyond his instrument. Moreover, he is a musician who has never stagnated, renewing himself constantly so that his style today is as fresh as it was in the 1920s.
In planning the present Chicago series of recordings, the name of Earl Hines quite naturally came to mind immediately. However, since he has made California his home for the past several years, it seemed unlikely that he could be included here until, by happy coincidence, the Hines band was booked into a Chicago club during our stay in the Windy City. For those who need to be told, we know the album was recorded on a Thursday and Friday – but Monday Date is one of Earl’s best and most celebrated numbers.
Hine’s musical career stated in about 1919, while he was attending Pittsburgh’s Schenley High School. Born in Duquesne, Pa., December 8, 1905, he inherited a love for music from both his father (a one-time member of the famous Eureka brass band of New Orleans) and his mother, who was an organist. After working in local clubs while still in school, Earl ventured to Chicago in 1922 with singer Lois Deppe. He spent some time working as a solo pianist in and around Chicago, then joined Erskine Tate’s band in ’25 and moved over to Carroll Dickerson’s orchestra a year later. Earl’s long association with Louis Armstrong began after a short stint with Sammy Stewart’s band at the Sunset Café. These two jazz giants recorded together for the first time as part of Johnny Dodds’ Black Bottom Stompers in April of 1927. Playing and recording with Louis and with famed clarinetist Jimmie Noone, Hines soon built a strong reputation. At first influenced by jelly Roll Morton, Earl clearly demonstrates on his early records the even stronger influence exerted by Louis Armstrong. This resulted in what has been called “trumpet-style piano,” a style which Hines since has abandoned but one that became a source of inspiration to numerous other pianists – among them Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Nat Cole, Mary Lou Williams and Billy Kyle.
In December, 1928, Hines formed his own big band, which opened at Chicago’s Grand Terrace ballroom, on 35the and Calumet. In the dacade, that followed, this band include, at one time or another, such stars as trumpeter Shirley Clay, trombonist Trummy Young, reed-men Darnell Howard (also heard in this album as a member of Hines’ present band), Omer Simeon and Budd Johnson. Banjoist-guitarist Lawrence Dixon (who appears with the Franz Jackson ban don another album in this series) was a regular member of the rhythm section. The band became very popular and reached a wide audience through a series of nightly radio network broadcasts.
During the ‘40s, the Hines band was a veritable cradle for avant-garde jazzmen, with such sidemen as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker,
Wardell Grey, Benny Green, Benny Harris and vocalists Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine. This was the first time that Gillespie and Parker had played in the same band – but unfortunately, due to recording ban, this all-star band was never recorded.
In ‘40s, Hines rejoined Armstrong, and spent the next three years as a member of the latter’s All-Stars. Since ’51, “Fatha” Hines has led his own small groups, mostly on the West Coast, with occasional tours of Canada and the mid-west.
In addition to the many superb solos played by Hines, this album also shows off the rest of the men who make up the present band. New Orleans-born Darnell Howard (who started off as a violinist in W. C. Handy’s orchestra and later played with King Oliver, Junie Cobb and Muggsy Spanier) is spotlighted on Clarinet Marmalade. Jimmy Archey, featured on Bill Balley, belongs more to the Harlem school of musicians and his trombone has been heard in the bands of Edgar Hayes, King Oliver, Willie Bryant, Benny Carter, Claude Hopkins, Luis Russell and Noble Siussle. Trumpeter Eddie Smith and drummer Earl Watkins are the “youngsters” in this band (they are featured on West End Blues and Limehouse Blues respectively). Quite the contrary is true of the still-vigorous George “Pops” Foster, who got his start with Roseals Orchestra back in 1906, followed by several years of playing tuba and bass drums in New Orleans marching bands. Pops’ career could easily fill up several back-liner notes and more details will be found on forthcoming albums on which he appears in this series. Foster’s bass work is heard to great advantage throughout all the selections in this album and he is featured (on bowed bass) on Just Closer Walk With Thee.
I recall a Down Beat record review in which columnist Ralph J. Greason wrote: “One of these days, somebody will make an LP with Earl Hines that will scare you to death.” I do not claim that this album will do that. Bit it is reasonable to hope that Hines’ solos, especially thee extended ones on Monday Date and Caution Blues will help give this extraordinary jazz artist some long-overdue attention and may possibly even (to quote Gleason again) open the eyes of “those younger pianists who think the instrument was invented at Minton’s.”
This album is part of an extensive group of recordings of traditional jazz as it is played today, made by Riverside in Chicago in September, 1961, and issued under the general series title, “Chicago Living Legends,” Earl Hines and the musicians featured with him can also be heard in the first release in this series, an overall survey of the current Windy City scene –
CHICAGO: The living Legends (RLP 389/ 390; Stereo 9389/9390 – a two-LP set)
Produced by CHRIS ALBERTSON
Album design: KEN DEARDOFF
Cover and back-liner photos: STEVE SCHAPIRO
Recording Engineer: BARRETT CLARK
Mobile Unit assistant: DICK COHN (Mastered at Plaza Sound Studios)
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, New York