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Hines, Earl (Kenneth)

byname Fatha

(born Dec. 28, 1905, Duquesne, Pa., U.S.—died April 22, 1983, Oakland, Calif.) American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer who was one of the strongest influences in the first 30 years of jazz history. He improvised lines with his right hand that were phrased like those of a trumpeter and—with the use of octave voicings, tremolos, and his powerful attack—caused the piano to seem almost brassy. This style, adopted by Hines during the 1920s, was assimilated by succeeding jazz pianists and modified the formerly strictly pianistic approach to one that was more compatible with modern jazz beginning in the mid-1940s.

The Hines recordings with trumpeter Louis Armstrong (1927–29), especially their “Weather Bird” duet, are jazz classics. Hines was a bandleader through most of the 1930s and '40s, with a big band at Chicago's Grand Terrace Ballroom intermittently from 1928, his personnel during the 1940s including such budding stars of the bebop era as saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and singers Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan. Hit records of the 1940s included “Jelly, Jelly,” “Stormy Monday Blues,” and “Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues.” His best-known composition is “Rosetta.”

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