Pianist Erroll Garner's formidable technique and exuberant approach was largely developed by the time he made his first solo recordings in 1944. YESTERDAYS begins with these sides, and follows Garner's recorded work--in both trio and solo piano formats--through 1949. Garner's penchant for blending the vigorous rhythms of swing with elements of ragtime, popular song, and advanced bop harmonies endeared him to a wide audience. His range, which spans from "old-timey" ("The Blue Room") to sentimental balladry ("For You") to impressionistic tone-poems ("Pastel"), is readily apparent with this eclectic batch of tunes.
As he would throughout his career, Garner distinguishes himself here as both a spirited composer (on his "Boogie Woogie Boogie" and "Fratonality" the influence of Fats Waller can be heard) and as an interpreter of popular show tunes. YESTERDAYS is heavy on the latter, with Garner lending his lush phrasing and keen rhythmic sense to readings of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust," Gershwin's "Somebody Loves Me," and Fields-McHugh's "I'm in the Mood for Love." Historically speaking, the appeal of both his talent and the repertoire on these early sides make it clear that Garner's star was set to soar.