Saturday, August 11, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Erroll Garner

Artist:Erroll Garner
Album:Erroll Garner's Finest Hour

Jazz pianist Erroll Garner's 1955 composition Misty was already a jazz and pop standard when actor and major league jazz fan Clint Eastwood used it as the theme of his 1972 directorial debut Play Misty For Me. This made Garner even more popular on the jazz circuit than he already was. He was born June 15, 1923 in Pittsburgh. His older brother Linton Garner was also a jazz pianist. Erroll Garner was self taught and never learned to read music. He played completely by ear. This made him very tricky to play with as most jazz musicians are classically trained and learned to read music at an early age. As a child, Garner appeared on Pittsburgh radio station KDKA in a group called Candy Kids. And he played gigs locally as a teen. He attended the same high school as Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal. He moved to New York in 1944. His first recordings were for Blue Note and he also recorded for Vogue, Philips and Columbia. But his best known recordings were for Mercury's jazz label EmArcy. Misty first appeared on the 1955 album Contrasts with Wyatt Ruther on bass, Fats Heard on drums and Candido on percussion. Songwriter Johnny Burke wrote lyrics for Misty and Johnny Mathis had a hit with it in 1959. Since then Misty has been recorded by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. Misty was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1991. In Play Misty For Me, Clint Eastwood played a radio DJ and one of his listeners (Jessica Walter) repeatedly requested Misty. Eastwood had seen Garner in concert and paid $25,000 to use Misty in the film. Supposedly Garner was also Johnny Carson's favourite jazz pianist and he appeared on The Tonight Show many times. This Verve comp covers Garner's EmArcy recordings. Erroll Garner continued to tour and record until he died of a heart attack on Jan. 2, 1977 at age 53. Here's Erroll Garner performing Misty in Brussels, Belgium 1963.

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