Hines, Earl, 1903-1983

Alternative names
Birth 1903-12-28
Death 1983-04-22

Biographical notes:

Musician; interviewee d. 1983.

From the description of Reminiscences of Earl Kenneth (Fatha) Hines : oral history, 1971. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122419716

Jazz musician.

From the description of Clipping with autograph signed : [1963]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270904707

Biographical Information

(b Duquesne, PA, 28 Dec 1903; d Oakland, CA, 22 April 1983). American jazz pianist and bandleader. He studied the trumpet briefly with his father, took his first piano lessons with his mother, and later studied with other teachers in Pittsburgh. He first played professionally in 1918, accompanying the singer Lois Deppe, with whom he later made his first recordings; his earnings allowed him to study with two local pianists.

Hines moved to Chicago in 1923. He played with Carroll Dickerson's orchestra at the Entertainers Club (c1925), on a 42-week tour to the West Coast and Canada (1925-6) and back in Chicago at the Sunset Club. During this last engagement Hines and his fellow sideman Louis Armstrong doubled as members of Erskine Tate's Vendome Theater Orchestra. In 1927 Hines became director of Dickerson's group under Armstrong's nominal leadership and at the end of the year he joined Jimmie Noone's band at the Apex Club. In 1928 Hines recorded several titles with Noone, including Apex Blues (1928, Voc.), and made a series of influential recordings with Armstrong, among them the highly original trumpet and piano duet Weather Bird (1928, OK); he also recorded a group of solos for QRS.

On his 25th birthday Hines inaugurated his own band at the Grand Terrace in Chicago, where he played for ten years; the band became known through nationwide tours and, from 1934, radio broadcasts. Until 1947 he continued to lead big bands, featuring such important figures as Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and many others. From 1948 to 1951 Hines played with Armstrong's All Stars and afterwards worked with small groups led by himself and others, attracting critical notice in the mid-1960s for his solo, trio and quartet playing. He led his own small band into the 1980s, and continued to perform regularly in the USA and abroad until the weekend before his death.

[From The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians]

From the guide to the Earl "Fatha" Hines collection, 1903-1983, bulk 1903-1983, (University of California, Berkeley. Music Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Jazz--1931-1940
  • African Americans--Segregation
  • Big band music
  • Jazz--1921-1930--Lead sheets
  • Jazz
  • Jazz musicians--Interviews
  • Jazz vocals
  • Piano music (jazz)
  • African Americans--Social conditions


  • Performer


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