A World Without Jazz
Earl Hines was born in 1903 into a world where there was no jazz as we know it, but precedents that were pointing the way. He studied locally in Pennsylvania, gigged and recorded, until moving to Chicago at 20 where the big advances in jazz were beginning to take place.
It was with Carroll Dickersonís band that Hines first began working with Louis Armstrong. The friendship and collaboration that developed between them gave them opportunities to inspire each other. Their innovations allowed the music to develop into an art not just of spontaneity, but of personal expression and collaboration.
The ragtime that Hines was hearing as a youth belonged to the piano player. The musician could simulate an entire ensemble in just his two hands, keeping time by alternating single notes and chords in the left, building melody around chord-based figures with the right, with his principal method of expression being how he swung the beat with syncopation.