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Erroll Garner

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, on medium tempo pieces, Erroll Garner 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.

Garner, whose older brother Linton was also a fine pianist, appeared on the radio with the Kan-D-Kids at the age of ten. After working locally in Pittsburgh, he moved to New York in 1944 and worked with Slam Stewart's trio during 1944-1945 before going out on his own. By 1946, Garner had his sound together, and when he backed Charlie Parker on his famous Cool Blues session of 1947, the pianist was already an obvious giant. His unclassifiable style had an orchestral approach straight from the swing era but was open to the innovations of bop. From the early '50s on, Garner's accessible style became very popular and he never seemed to have an off day up until his forced retirement (due to illness) in early 1975. His composition "Misty" became a standard. Garner, who had the ability to sit at the piano without prior planning and record three albums in one day (all colorful first takes), made many records throughout his career for such companies as Savoy, Mercury, RCA, Dial, Columbia, EmArcy, ABC-Paramount, MGM, Reprise, and his own Octave label. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Most enjoyable!
MISTY BEST EVER PLAYED EVER!!!
olsalt1
Another one of the greats in piano. May his music live on.
One of the best piano composer of our time...class i c
I'm 64 years Young now, but when I was fifteen years old, I met Mr EG! what a treat it was!! He was so short, he sat on phone books. Bless this great man who's left us all music beyond our imagination! Mr EG! here's to you! Play on . LeCount
I love Erroll. What a great album!
Thanks!
I've loved Error Garner since I was a little girl listening to my big brother play vinyl on his new Hi-Fi record player. Fond, fond memories!

pure joy !
If Tatum is God, Garner is God's mistress
I only hope when I go to my eternal reward that the back ground melody is Errol Garner riffing on MISTY, I will then rest in peace along wiith the Master of 88...May God Bless his soul. Fr Duffy, Newport Beach, Ca.
Original and amazing. Comes from his soul. . .
I'll always treasure my Concert By The Sea 33 !/3 platter. Imagine being in Carmel, Ca. then. To paraphrase Mayor Eastwood He made my day
ralph.dratma n
Great notes by Scott Yanow offer a lot of insight.
Wonderful arrgmt of I'm in the mood for Love.
wonder if he still sits on the New York phone directory?
The sheer delight in his playing - un f* ing believable !!
nwozment
Another of my favorites is That's My Kick . WOW ! What God Given Talent!
Carwash allday everyday smooth a** song B-)
webersf
Love him
he can make me laugh and cry, both with joy, within a few seconds of each other on the same song ! simply unbelievable that this man was here on earth. what a gift to us all !
so playful, unpredictabl e and virtuostic all at the same time
Love this! Absolutely stunning!
What about the Erroll Garner by the Sea album?
It may be of interest to know that Erroll did learn to read music in his later years. It doesn't seem to have hurt his playing, however!
eve.hartman2
Amazing!
lyn572
I think that I have just about every 33 rpm ever recorded by Erroll!
lyn@levens.c o m
Sheer heaven . . . aural confection. LOVE.
Oh to be able to play by ear and thus be practicing while making wonderful music. I've always wanted to play, but practice takes disipline I never developed adedquately on piano or with my clarinet in school days. Sigh........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I shook his hand at a after concert reception at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK, way back when he was doing college concerts in the early 60's. Very cordial and congenial little man with a phone book to sit on his piano bench.
Mmmmmmmm...
He is still WOW...always will be.
Adore his background grunts...... . . . h a p p y man playing happy piano. Love it!
hoppyss426
The only jazz pianist to be selected in the 'Jazz-Hall of Fame! .....nuff, said.
shepay1292
a total favorite of mine.
david.snydma n
i recall listening to concert by the sea on a BA flight 23 years ago, I missed the flight I was to be on, rerouted to NYC from Boston, late, tired but it was so upbeat and inspiring, it just made me laugh and feel glad to be alive
David S
mooyoo.77
MR.MAGIC---l e f t hand like no other,one can never mistake this sound.

great stuff
SMOOTH SOUND BY A SMOOTH MAN.
pkarp1
one of my favorites
when one plays without looking at paper as e garner did,every chourus is a new arrangement and repeatition is not by design so put the sheets away and play from the heart.
I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR HIS MUSIC, I HAVE HIS POSTAL STAMP BUT THIS MY FIRST
TIME TO HEAR HIS MUSIC I LOVE IT, THANK GOD.
One of the greater musical giants from an era long ago. Excellent music, pure and full of God given emotion.
daytonville
Simply delightful. Simply the best.
rlmcpp
Erroll Garner was a great testimate to the phrase "GOD GIVEN TALENT" In the Album "Concert by the Sea" the cut "Where or When" is a fast moving selection that is hand-melody times two. If a young musician wants to play the piano, this cut is the standard. On youtube there is one session where one musician achieved it.
It amazes me that only one like Erroll comes along in a life time, glad it was in my time too.
Garner is one of my all time favorites. I memorized every song from "Concert By The Sea".Still makes my heart fill with unbelievable emotion
The Concert By The Sea album is one of the great live concerts ever recorded. A true master.
There are times when he sounded like he had a stomach ache!
Erroll's playing never ceases to amaze and delight me. What a God-given gift.
Which is it? The instrument becomes him, Or He becomes the instrument. I have been in love with his music for over 50 years.
There are so many wonderfull memories where his music was a big part of. His playing is in my memory now and many tomorrows to come.
sonny.r4
I miss his playing there was no one like him
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