Earl Hines

Piano Man 1928-1955

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AllMusic Review by

"Piano Man" was the name of a showcase number for the extroverted keyboard artistry of Earl "Fatha" Hines; it was so catchy (and sufficiently campy) that Gene Krupa couldn't seem to resist swiping the idea and using it to contrive his own feature routine, which he called Drummer Man. Years later, at least five different reissue labels came out with Earl Hines compilations containing the phrase "Piano Man" in the title. The 1998 Giants of Jazz Piano Man employs a non-linear approach to the presentation of 22 Hines' recordings made between the years 1928 and 1955, combining his solo, trio, and big-band recordings and including marvelous collaborations with Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong. Whoever selected these tracks did a wonderful job -- in particular those featuring the Hines orchestra are among the best ever waxed by that organization. "Weather Bird" is the classic Armstrong/Hines duet of December 1928; the 1940 Bluebird recording of "Blues in Thirds" is one of the crown jewels in the entire Sidney Bechet discography, and "Child of a Disordered Brain" is a scintillating solo study in what might be described as neo-stride piano. This exciting collection demonstrates Hines' complicity in the rapid evolution of jazz from its classic period in the '20s through the heyday of big-band swing and the early bop period to the mainstream continuum of the '50s, epitomized here by handsome renderings of "Fine and Dandy" and "Honeysuckle Rose."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:53
2 2:17
3 2:39
4 2:51
5 2:34
6 2:34
7 2:46
8 2:32
9 2:42
10 2:58
11 2:52
12 2:36
13 2:32
14 2:30
15 2:42
16 2:42
17 2:56
18 2:46
19 2:50
20 3:01
21 3:39
22 3:45
blue highlight denotes track pick