Jazz pianist and composer.
Erroll Garner was born June 15, 1921, in Pittsburgh, where he played piano during the early years of his career. Although reared in northern Appalachia, Garner gained fame after moving to New York City in 1944. He remained associated with the Appalachian region thereafter primarily through touring, usually as the leader of his own trio.
Following a stint with Leroy Brown’s orchestra in Pitts- burgh from 1938 to 1941, Garner began working in New York, where in 1944–45 he played and recorded with the Slam Stewart Trio. Beginning in the early 1950s, Garner achieved wide recognition as a leader of his own trio. His popularity soon extended beyond the jazz scene to the general public, especially through such compositions as his sig- nature tune, “Misty.” He recorded widely for Columbia Records and continued to tour the United States and over- seas until 1975. He died January 2, 1977.
A self-taught pianist, Garner is widely recognized as a virtuoso who possessed one of the most distinctive piano styles in jazz. His rhythmic conception was unmistakable (and virtually inimitable); he often stated the beat with left- hand block chords, over which he superimposed behind- the-beat right-hand ﬁgures. Another unique aspect of his technique was his highly ornamented approach to ballad playing. Garner was one of the few jazz instrumentalists to develop an individual style that held appeal both for avid jazz fans and for a wider audience.
Cite this Entry
"Erroll Garner," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2013, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 10 Dec 2013 <http://www.www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=91>
"Erroll Garner." (2013) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved December 10, 2013, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=91