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Earl Hines & His Quartet

Earl 'Fatha' Hines was a key figure in the evolution of modern jazz and is widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time. In his youth Hines briefly played trumpet before switching to piano. His first noteworthy work came when he accompanied singer Lois Deppe, making his first recordings the following year. In 1923 Hines made the move to Chicago, working with Sammy Stewart and Erskine Tate's Vendome Theatre Orchestra and beginning a collaborative relationship with Louis Armstrong in 1926 that would weave in and out of his life for years.

Hines had a successful year in 1928, recording his first ten piano solos, including takes on 'A Monday Date', 'Blues in Thirds' and '57 Varieties'. He also laid down classic recordings with Jimmy Noone's Apex Club Orchestra and Louis Armstrong's Hot Five. He went on to lead big bands for the next two decades, working with the likes of Walter Fuller, Ray Nance, Trummy Young, Budd Johnson and Jimmy Mundy. The 1940s saw Billy Eckstine become the band's iconic singer and during the recording strike they were briefly joined by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan.

In 1948 Hines had to dissolve his band for financial reasons, going to work with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars for several years before heading up a Dixieland band. By the '60s Hines' popularity had faded, but he had a career rennaissance when in 1964 Stanley Dance arranged three dates for him at New York's Little Theater, thrusting him back into the limelight where he would stay for the rest of his career. Over the next two decades Hines and his quartet toured the world, recording a host of albums and remaining active right up to Hines' death in 1983.

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