Earl Hines: A Monday Date


A Monday Date


Earl Hines (piano)


Earl Hines and His Orchestra: 1928-1932 (Queens, NY, December 8, 1928)

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Earl Hines (piano).

Composed by Earl Hines & Sydney Robin


Recorded: Queens, NY, December 8, 1928


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

The solo rendition of this Hines standard is even better than the famous Hot Fives version with Louis Armstrong. (Important note: I am discussing the 12/8/28 version timed at 2:53, not the one recorded the next day.)

Hines must have had enormous hands to play those big marching and striding tenths so quickly and authoritatively with his southpaw. His right hand grabs big clusters and chords, too: this is a hell of a lot of piano.

There's always something engagingly ragtag about a Hines performance. In fact, those signature weird stops and pauses - surely only Hines was doing this in 1928! - are really off the grid, sounding dangerously like moments of free improvisation. Hines always keeps the beat, of course, but not even Art Tatum is as fearless about pursuing the unknown - or rather letting the chips fall where they may. (Hines's piano break on "Savoyager's Stomp" with Armstrong - also 1928 - is the height of avant-garde.)

Of all the pre-bop pianists, Hines had the longest career as a solo pianist - his final recordings from the '70s are as interesting and provocative as his first 1928 sides.

Reviewer: Ethan Iverson

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