Earl Hines • The Quintessential Recording Session

Pianist Earl Hines recorded prolifically throughout his career, particularly during 1928-79. He made a major comeback in 1965 after almost being forgotten by many jazz critics, and his next dozen years were full of constant performances and quite a few dazzling recordings.

One of the most interesting and rewarding of his projects took place on March 15, 1970, resulting in an album called The Quintessential Recording Session. Hines’ very first solo piano recordings had taken place on Dec. 1, 1928, and consisted of eight pieces. Over 41 years later, he re-recorded all eight songs for the album.

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After being persuaded to undergo the project, Hines realized that he had rarely ever played some of the tunes, such as “Chicago High Life,” “Chimes In Blues,” and “Panther Rag,” since 1928, and he had largely forgotten how they went. The pianist actually had to listen to the original recordings to re-familiarize himself with his own songs but that did not take long. At 66, he was just as brilliant a pianist as he had been at the earlier date in 1928 when he was about to turn 25. His improvising on such numbers as “My Monday Date,” “Blues In Thirds,” and “Stowaway” was filled with his trademark chance-taking breaks that suspended time, his playing of octaves was typically flawless, and he swung hard while constantly pushing himself. If anything, his playing was a bit wilder and even more potentially reckless than it had been in the earlier days, yet he never missed a beat or had a misstep.

Earl Hines’ brilliance had, if anything, grown through the passing of decades, making this album one of his many classics.

The Quintessential Recording Session
Chiaroscuro CD 101 8 selections

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Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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