“St. Louis Blues” is a popular American song composed by W. C. Handy in the blues style and published in September 11, 1914. It was one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song and remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians’ repertoire. Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and the Boston Pops Orchestra are among the artists who have recorded it.
This arrangement is close to the way it was played by Earl Hines, one of the most influential jazz pianists ever. Although I had heard the name, until recently I didn’t know much about Hines. I didn’t know that … OK, there is too much to say here about Hines or Handy, for that matter – just go to Wikipedia if you’re interested.
However, a few quotes: the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (a member of Hines’s big band, along with sax player Charlie Parker) wrote “the modern piano came from Earl Hines.” Erroll Garner said, “When you talk about greatness, you talk about Art Tatum and Earl Hines”. Count Basie said that Hines was “the greatest piano player in the world”.
As a matter of fact, he does sound pretty good to me also!
Bosendorfer piano sound: for this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I’ve ever owned!!