Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Earl "Fatha" Hines in 1979

This is one of those things where I say bless the internet. Pianists Joshua White reminded me of Fatha Hines today on Facebook, and it reminded me that I had seen him twice in the 70s when I was a teenager. I probably saw him in 1977 and 1978 or 1979, so I am really happy to have found this footage. I remember seeing him at the Mandeville Theater at UCSD and I was in the front row, right in front of the piano. And he was close enough to front stage that I could see his face while he played, even if he was hunched down over the keys. His toupee looked more artificial than ever, but his suit was still sharp enough to slice paper. Sometimes he played upright, facing the musicians, but there were times, especially on ballads, when he would bend over the keys, sometimes eyes closed, sometimes eyes scanning the keys, and I have to say that I felt honored to watch him in his private world, seeing him enchanted by his muse and filled by his own music, living in a musical world he helped create. It was really moving to watch him play then.

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