Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (#254)

Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set


Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (#254)
"There are very few long-playing sides which equal the first two in this set for spirit, drive, swing, bristling ensembles and infectious solos. At the time they were recorded, in 1939-40, Count Basie’s band was all the rage, but man for man, and arrangement for arrangement, the Hines band could battle it on its own terms and come away with colors flying. And right up until 1947, Hines inspired terrific esprit de corps in his bands. Willie Cook has told how he and Benny Green were so reluctant to leave that they turned down a better offer from another leader." - Stanley Dance, review of 2 LP Bluebird release included in the Mosaic set
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies

7 CDs -  $119.00


The Most Influential Jazz Pianist. Ever!

Schools need teachers. Traditions require rules. Movements need leaders -- someone has to first say, "Follow me. Here's how it's done."

There are only a few names in jazz we can count among those teachers. The true originals. One the most important is Earl Hines. And in our new Mosaic collection, you will find his rules.

For the first time ever, you can own a set that brings together his important work as a leader and soloist spanning 1928 to 1945. This unprecedented collection draws from all the important labels that recorded him -- OKeh, Victor, Brunswick, Vocalion, Bluebird and Signature. And to our delight, as we combed through the vault at Sony where all these masters now reside, we discovered 11 tracks that have never appeared anywhere.

Not only do the songs reveal how strikingly new his concept was when he first burst on the scene, but how it developed across his solo work, with duos and trios, small combos, and his big band.

Freedom From Rhythm

Hines taught piano players how to break free from that and play what we now call jazz. In the bass notes, the hand could walk and jump, chord, and hold notes longer than expected to play against expected time. With the right hand, he could belt out solos like a wind player (hence, the moniker "trumpet-style" to describe Hines' sense of melody), often playing in octaves, or weave intricate lines across the keyboard.

On the surface, all that freedom might sound like it has to exist apart from other musicians, but the fact is Hines' stylistic innovations allowed ensemble work to flourish. Pianists could accompany or lead; embellish a statement, or kick off a new thought. With freedom from strictly composed rhythmic and melodic patterns came the opportunity for dialogue and response in the moment - the essence of spontaneous composition.

Fame Takes Hold

Hines launched his own band in 1928 in Chicago, and stayed in the same club (The Grand Terrace) for 10 years. But he became nationally known, as did many of the stand-out solo musicians he helped introduce. Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Hines' featured vocalist Billy Eckstine all made names for themselves first with Hines. (Sadly, no recordings were made when Parker and Gillespie were beside him).

Our collection features a wealth of Hines solos on ensemble selections, as well as over a dozen piano solo recordings. Included are "Rosetta," "A Monday Date," "Melancholy Baby," and more. From his Chicago orchestra we're treated to "Cavernism," "Take It Easy," "Madhouse," and "Rhythm Sundae." There are the hits as well - "Boogie Woogie On St. Louis Blues," "Jelly, Jelly," "Stormy Monday Blues," and the sensational "Skylark."

A Wealth Of Material, All From Original Sources

The set includes 171 tracks on seven CDs, remastered from the original metal parts and test pressings housed in the Sony archive. Rare photos from the collection of Stanley Dance and an essay by Brian Priestley are featured in our patented Mosaic booklet, along with a discography that corrects time worn errors.

For the influence he had on successive generations of piano players, Hines' contributions have long been felt. Now, in a way never before possible, they can be directly appreciated.

Read More About Earl Hines:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »

  • Booklet
  • Audio Quality
  • Photography
  • Sample Session Notes
Our liner note writer for the Earl Hines set is Brian Priestley who is no stranger to the Mosaic written word. Brian wrote the notes for Earl’s LP “Tour De Force” on Black Lion and a compilation entitled “Masters Of Jazz” for the Storyville label. He has been on the jazz scene since the 1960s arranging jazz pieces for the National Youth Jazz Orchestera and was responsible for entries in Jazz on Record: A Critical Guide to the First Fifty Years, 1917–67 (1968), edited by Albert McCarthy and others. Brian has been a broadcaster for BBC Radio London and Radio 3, taught jazz piano at Goldsmiths College for over 15 years and has worked for various other universities as an instructor for years. Priestley has also authored biographies of Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. He currently presents a jazz show on Radio Kerry in Ireland.

The sources used for our Earl Hines set came mostly from metal parts and especially when it came to the Victor and Bluebird sessions, mint test pressings. A handful of alternate takes needed to be gathered from LPs as the original discs are missing from the vaults. About a dozen commercially issued mint 78s were used including the Signature session as no other source exists. Test pressings of newly found alternates came from the collections of Michael Brooks, Steven Lasker and the Sony Vault (one being a brand new title called “Satchelmouth Baby” written by Mary Lou Williams and is fairly x-rated!)

Photo Copyright © Protected
Earl Hines
The photographs were gathered from the collection of Stanley Dance which is housed at the Gilmore Library – Yale University in New Haven. Dance was a champion of Hines, arranging for record dates, concerts and eventually his manager. They remained great friends throughout the years. He also compiled a magnificent book entitled The World Of Earl Hines which includes many reminisces from Hines musician associates including Hines himself.

December 11 & 12, 1928 and December 12, 1928

This chronological collection begins with one of its absolute high-spots, namely the four solo tracks recorded between what proved to be Hines’ last recordings with Louis Armstrong. Assuming the date traditionally given for Hines’ Q.R.S. session (December 8, 1928) is correct, it must have required an overnight journey, since he’d been in OKeh’s Chicago studio with Armstrong on December 4, 5 and 7, recording Basin Street Blues on the first date, the amazing duet version of Weather Bird on the second, and an equally riveting contribution to Muggles on the last. Then he was back in Chicago on December 11 and 12, playing behind singers such as Red McKenzie and, with Armstrong, behind Lillie Delk Christian, finishing up with Armstrong’s own Tight Like This session.

In between all this, OKeh recorded Hines the soloist, and in superior fidelity to the Q.R.S. sides. The first track, Caution Blues, has the same theme as Q.R.S.’s Blues In Thirds but is more sprightly and more inventive, moving after the first three choruses in F to a pair of choruses in B-flat, before returning to the opening key and a coda that doesn’t reprise the opening theme. Throughout, Hines’ left hand stays close to the stride style that he soon rendered out-of-date, but with a variety of voicings and accentuation that gives a very different feel.

His song A Monday Date had already been recorded with the bands of Armstrong (June 27) and Jimmie Noone (August 23), as well as unaccompanied for Q.R.S. But again, the OKeh version is superior, in this instance being fractionally slower, and beginning with a chorus in G before modulating for the verse to the Q.R.S. key of C, where the performance remains. In his enunciation of the tune, Hines makes clear use of a slight tremolo at the phrase-ends which clearly emulates the vibrato of a horn-player. As well as illustrating his variations on the left-hand stride manner, the right-hand start to the third chorus (1:24 from the start) has one of his few hints at the melodic language of stride players such as James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. For those who read music notation, it’s worth pointing out two brief transcriptions from this track in Gunther Schuller’s The Swing Era.


Click here to write a review

  An encore for Mr. Hines
So, as an encore to this tremendous set, how about a follow-up set with all the orchestra recordings after 1945, plus a mix of post-war solo and small group recordings? A sure thing, if there ever was one!
  Real Deal
Exciting, upbeat jazz - the quality and consistency of the orchestra/big band's performances are a treat. The solo piano and small group tracks are icing on the cake!
  it duz.
Bands with a bluesy edge and deep swing, like the Basie bands. With Budd Johnson as a lead soloist - its gonna get down, and it duz.
Wonderful set!! Hines is so good playing with the band! Is there another pianist as impressive as Hines in his interactions with the section playing? I don't think so. Anyway, I hope Mosaic considers a post 1940s solo and small group set. Seems there's lots of recordings out there that could use the remastering and it would be another great Mosaic release.
  Mr. Hines & Co.
Just got the set - great bluesy big band that swings like crazy. Was in the kitchen cooking, the music on loud and ended up dancing while I was cooking. You Gotta Move!! Hines is great whether out front with the big band, solo, or in small groups. This is a fun, lively, set that will bring a smile to your face.
  Another Excellent Set
I am really enjoying this set. It's full of great music. In reference to the previous reviewer, it seems all swing era music suffers from some cheesy arrangements & less than great vocals. This set actually has less of that type of stuff than many other sets. Even Ellington's older records had their share of dross. Just a thought- Mosaic needs to do more Hines-it seems just about everything he did after 1945 is either out of print or inadequately assembled.
  For the most part, great music - but some reservations
My favorite cuts include "57 Varieties", "Glad Rag Doll", a really hot version of "Everybody Loves My Baby" with a fabulous scat vocal by Hines himself, "Cavernism" and "Easy Rhythm". Some of the vocalists, though, just do not suit me and it would have been best had those cuts been left off. But the plusses certainly outweigh the minuses in this set. And the booklet, with its superb analysis by Brian Priestley and rare photos, is worth the price.
  Another Essential Set!
This is one of the best big band sets Mosaic had ever produced. Besides the always wonderful solos by Hines, the set traces the growth of big band arranging in a fascinating way from the early work of Alex Hill (with his transcription of an Armstrong solo for Hines' trumpet section on "Beau Koo Jack") to the forward looking work of Budd Johnson for the 1939-40 band. Along with the Lunceford collection, this set is an essential purchase for anyone interested in great jazz piano, great jazz arranging and swinging music!
  A SOLID GEM.....
Very easy listening and swings like hell. fantastic in out of print master jazz series. also with bechet cant wait to get this box his stride and rhythm is unmatched and phrasing .

Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (#254)
Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (#254)
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
7 CDs - $119.00

Customer Reviews:

This is one of the best big band sets Mosaic had ever produced. Besides the always wonderful solos by Hines, the set traces the growth of big band arranging in a fascinating way from the early work of Alex Hill (with his transcription of an Armstrong solo for Hines' trumpet section on "Beau Koo Jack") to the forward looking work of Budd Johnson for the 1939-40 band. Along with the Lunceford collection, this set is an essential purchase for anyone interested in great jazz piano, great jazz arrang ...
Read More Reviews »

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