Earl Hines and His Orchestra: Live At The Grand Terrace, Chicago, IL – August 3 1938

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“On December 28, 1928 (his 25th birthday and six weeks before the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre), the always-immaculate Hines opened at Chicago’s Grand Terrace Cafe leading his own big band, the pinnacle of jazz ambition at the time. “All America was dancing”, Hines said, and for the next 12 years and through the worst of the Great Depression and Prohibition, Hines’s band was the orchestra at the Grand Terrace. The Hines Orchestra – or “Organization”, as Hines preferred it – had up to 28 musicians and did three shows a night at the Grand Terrace, four shows every Saturday and sometimes Sundays. According to Stanley Dance, “Earl Hines and The Grand Terrace were to Chicago what Duke Ellington and The Cotton Club were to New York – but fierier.”

The Grand Terrace was controlled by the gangster Al Capone, so Hines became Capone’s “Mr Piano Man”. The Grand Terrace upright piano was soon replaced by a white $3,000 Bechstein grand. Talking about those days Hines later said:

… Al [Capone] came in there one night and called the whole band and show together and said, “Now we want to let you know our position. We just want you people just to attend to your own business. We’ll give you all the Protection in the world but we want you to be like the 3 monkeys: you hear nothing and you see nothing and you say nothing”. And that’s what we did. And I used to hear many of the things that they were going to do but I never did tell anyone. Sometimes the Police used to come in … looking for a fall guy and say, “Earl what were they talking about?” … but I said, “I don’t know – no, you’re not going to pin that on me,” because they had a habit of putting the pictures of different people that would bring information in the newspaper and the next day you would find them out there in the lake somewhere swimming around with some chains attached to their feet if you know what I mean.

From the Grand Terrace, Hines and his band broadcast on “open mikes” over many years, sometimes seven nights a week, coast-to-coast across America – Chicago being well placed to deal with live broadcasting across time zones in the United States. The Hines band became the most broadcast band in America. Among the listeners were a young Nat King Cole and Jay McShann in Kansas City, who said his “real education came from Earl Hines. When ‘Fatha’ went off the air, I went to bed.”[citation needed] Hines’s most significant “student” was Art Tatum.

The Hines band usually comprised 15-20 musicians on stage, occasionally up to 28. Among the band’s many members were Wallace Bishop, Alvin Burroughs, Scoops Carry, Oliver Coleman, Bob Crowder, Thomas Crump, George Dixon, Julian Draper, Streamline Ewing, Ed Fant, Milton Fletcher, Walter Fuller, Dizzy Gillespie, Leroy Harris, Woogy Harris, Darnell Howard, Cecil Irwin, Harry ‘Pee Wee’ Jackson, Warren Jefferson, Budd Johnson, Jimmy Mundy, Ray Nance, Charlie Parker, Willie Randall, Omer Simeon, Cliff Smalls, Leon Washington, Freddie Webster, Quinn Wilson and Trummy Young.

Occasionally, Hines allowed another pianist sit in for him, the better to allow him to conduct the whole “Organization”. Jess Stacy was one, Nat “King” Cole and Teddy Wilson were others, but Cliff Smalls was his favorite.” (Wikipedia).

Track listing:

1. Deep Forest (Theme Song) 0:00
2. Limehouse Blues 1:09
3. Teacher’s Pet 3:39
4. Hi-Yo Silver 6:26
5. Colorado Sunset (Vocal: Leroy Harris) 8:13
6. So Help Me 10:13
7. Now It Can Be Told (Vocal: Leroy Harris) 13:26
8. Beside A Moonlit Stream (Vocal: Leroy Harris) 15:39
9. A Little Liss At Twilight 18:02
10. Bambino 20:34
11. A-Tisket A-Tasket (Vocal: Katherie Perry) 22:52
12. St. Louis Blues 25:29
13. Cavernism (Outro) 28:51


Earl Hines and His Orchestra


Recorded live at the Grand Terrace, Chicago, IL – August 3 1938