THE WORLD OF EARL HINES by Stanley Dance

THE WORLD OF EARL HINES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Even dedicated jazz fans will probably be surprised to hear that Earl ""Fatha"" Hines has a ""World."" Nor are these chunks of oral history (how easily a stack of cassettes can become a big book) likely to change their mind about that exceptional pianist from Pittsburgh and Chicago, since Dance ""leaves interpretation to the reader,"" and interpretations don't naturally follow from a series of loose, friendly but only occasionally analytical reminiscences. Hines himself recalls his 50+ years as a bandleader and improvising keyboard man at length, sliding from liaisons to gigs with genial ease (""Not all people in show business had what you'd call good intentions""), remembering his legendary sessions and tours with Satchmo, sharing his views on Dizzy and Tommy D. and that whole matter of ""tonation."" Then members of Earl's various bands and combos over the years--including confrère-singer Lois Deppe--offer their recollections, with an occasional narrating assist from Dance, differing here and there on details but agreeing on a great fondness and admiration/awe for the Fatha. Without a strong commentary to place Hines' work in clear Ellington-Armstrong-Swing perspective, it's a lavishly illustrated, thoroughly discographied rap session for aficionados only and something of an overkilling tribute to the modest musician who may well be, as Dance claims, the ""best of all jazz pianists,"" the only one in the Art Tatum class.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Scribners