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Erroll Louis Garner

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 12:51 -- admin

Jazz Pianist

Date of Birth : June 15, 1921

Place of birth : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Died : January 2, 1977, Los Angeles, CA

Errol was a jazz pianist whose blindness meant that he developed a much distinctive method and unorthodox style. 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.

A brilliant virtuoso who sounded unlike anyone else, Erroll Garner on medium-tempo pieces often stated the beat with his left hand like a rhythm guitar while his right played chords slightly behind the beat, creating a memorable effect. 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.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in 1921, Errol played locally for a while in the shadow of his older pianist brother Linton Garner. He moved to New York in 1944 and briefly worked with the bassist Slam Stewart. A couple of years later in 1947 Errol backed up Charlie Parker on his Cool Blues session.

Already Garner had developed a huge reputation, owing much to his unusual style which could had the orchestral approach of swing but was accessible to bebop. His ability to record albums from very little preparation, switch from various keys and introduce dynamic spontaneity astonished many critics.

His 1955 recording, 'Concert by the Sea', ranks among his very best work and has Eddie Calhoun on bass and Denzil Best on drums. Other notable works include 1951's 'Long Ago and Far Away' and 1952's 'Body and Soul', both of which sees Errol perform a number of classic standards in his own style. Suffering from illness, Errol retired in 1975.

Wednesday, June 15, 1921
Sunday, January 2, 1977
United States

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