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William McKinley "Red" Garland, Jr. (May 13, 1923 – April 23, 1984)[1] was an American modern jazz pianist. Known for his work as a bandleader and during the 1950s with Miles Davis, Garland helped popularize the block chord style of piano playing.[2][3]

Red Garland
Red Garland 9A.jpg
Garland at Keystone Korner jazz club, San Francisco, California, May 1978
Background information
Birth nameWilliam McKinley Garland, Jr.
Born(1923-05-13)May 13, 1923
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedApril 23, 1984(1984-04-23) (aged 60)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
GenresJazz, straight-ahead jazz, bebop, hard bop
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsPiano
Years active1940s–1984
LabelsPrestige
Associated actsMiles Davis

Contents

Early lifeEdit

William "Red" Garland was born in 1923 in Dallas, Texas. He began his musical studies on the clarinet and alto saxophone but, in 1941, switched to the piano. Less than five years later, Garland joined the trumpet player Hot Lips Page, well-known in the southwest, playing with him until a tour ended in New York in March 1946. Having decided to stay in New York to find work, Art Blakey came across Garland playing at a small club, only to return the next night with Blakey's boss, Billy Eckstine.[4]

Garland also had a short-lived career as a welterweight boxer in the 1940s. He fought more than 35 fights, one being an exhibition bout with Sugar Ray Robinson.[5]

Later life and careerEdit

1955–58 – Miles Davis QuintetEdit

Garland became famous in 1954 when he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, and Paul Chambers. Davis was a fan of boxing and was impressed that Garland had boxed earlier in his life. Together, the group recorded their famous Prestige albums, Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (1954), Workin, Steamin', Cookin', and Relaxin'. Garland's style is prominent in these seminal recordings—evident in his distinctive chord voicings, his sophisticated accompaniment, and his musical references to Ahmad Jamal's style. Some observers dismissed Garland as a "cocktail" pianist,[6] but Miles was pleased with his style, having urged Garland to absorb some of Jamal's lightness of touch and harmonics within his own approach.[7]

Garland played on the first of Davis's many Columbia recordings, 'Round About Midnight (1957). Though he would continue playing with Miles, their relationship was beginning to deteriorate. By 1958, Garland and Jones had started to become more erratic in turning up for recordings and shows. He was eventually fired by Miles, but later returned to play on another jazz classic, Milestones. Davis was displeased when Garland quoted Davis's much earlier, and by then famous, solo from "Now's The Time" in block chords during the slower take of "Straight, No Chaser". Garland walked out of one of the sessions for Milestones, so that on the track "Sid's Ahead", Davis comped behind the saxophone solos.

1958–84 – After the Miles Davis QuintetEdit

In 1958, Garland formed his own trio. Among the musicians the trio recorded with are Pepper Adams, Nat Adderley (Cannonball Adderley's brother), Ray Barretto, Kenny Burrell, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Jimmy Heath, Harold Land, Philly Joe Jones, Blue Mitchell, Ira Sullivan, and Leroy Vinnegar. The trio also recorded as a quintet with John Coltrane and Donald Byrd.[8] Altogether, Garland led 19 recording sessions while at Prestige Records and 25 sessions for Fantasy Records. He stopped playing professionally for a number of years in the 1960s when the popularity of rock music coincided with a substantial drop in the popularity of jazz.

Garland eventually returned to his native Texas in the 1970s to care for his aged mother. He led a recording in 1977, named Crossings, which reunited him with Philly Joe Jones, and he teamed up with bassist Ron Carter. His later work tended to sound more modern and less polished than his better known recordings. He continued recording until his death from a heart attack on April 23, 1984 at the age of 60.[9]

Playing styleEdit

Garland's trademark block chord technique, a commonly borrowed maneuver in jazz piano today, was unique and differed from the methods of earlier block chord pioneers such as George Shearing and Milt Buckner. Garland's block chords were constructed of three notes in the right hand and four in the left hand, with the right hand one octave above the left. Garland's left hand played four-note chords that simultaneously beat out the same exact rhythm as the right-hand melody played. But unlike George Shearing's block chord method, Garland's left-hand chords did not change positions or inversions until the next chord change occurred. It is also worth noting that Garland's four-note left-hand chord voicings frequently left out the roots of the chords, a chord style later associated with pianist Bill Evans.

Partial discographyEdit

As leaderEdit

Year recorded Title Label Personnel
1956–57 Red Garland's Piano Prestige Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1956–57 The P.C. Blues Prestige Most tracks trio with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums); one track trio with Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1956–57 Groovy Prestige Trio with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1957 Red Garland Revisited! Prestige Most tracks trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums); some tracks quartet, with Kenny Burrell (guitar) added; released 1969
1957 All Mornin' Long Prestige Quintet, with John Coltrane (tenor sax), Donald Byrd (trumpet), George Joyner (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1957 Soul Junction Prestige Quintet, with John Coltrane (tenor sax), Donald Byrd (trumpet), George Joyner (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1957 High Pressure Prestige Quintet, with John Coltrane (tenor sax), Donald Byrd (trumpet), George Joyner (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1957–58 Dig It! Prestige One track trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums); two tracks quintet, with John Coltrane (tenor sax), Donald Byrd (trumpet), George Joyner (bass), Taylor (drums); one track quartet, without Byrd
1958 It's a Blue World Prestige Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums); released 1970
1958 Manteca Prestige Quartet, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums), Ray Barretto (congas)
1958 Can't See for Lookin' Prestige Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums); released 1963
1958 Rojo Prestige Quartet, with George Joyner (bass), Charlie Persip (drums), Ray Barretto (congas)
1958 The Red Garland Trio Moodsville Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1958 All Kinds of Weather Prestige Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1959 Red in Blues-ville Prestige Trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1959 Coleman Hawkins with the Red Garland Trio Moodsville Quartet, with Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Doug Watkins (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums)
1959 Satin Doll Prestige Most tracks trio with Doug Watkins (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums); some tracks trio with Jimmy Rowser (bass), Taylor (drums); released 1971
1959 Red Garland Live! Prestige Trio, with Jimmy Rowser (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums); in concert
1959 The Red Garland Trio + Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Moodsville Most tracks trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums); some tracks quartet, with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax) added
1959 Red Garland at the Prelude Prestige Trio, with Jimmy Rowser (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums); in concert; released 1971
1959 Lil' Darlin' Status Trio, with Jimmy Rowser (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums); in concert
1960 Red Alone Moodsville Solo piano
1960 Alone with the Blues Moodsville Solo piano
1960 Halleloo-Y'-All Prestige Trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums); Garland also plays organ
1960–61 Soul Burnin' Prestige Most tracks trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums); some tracks quintet, with Oliver Nelson (tenor sax, alto sax), Richard Williams (trumpet), Peck Morrison (bass), Charlie Persip (drums)
1961 Bright and Breezy Jazzland Trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Charlie Persip (drums)
1961 The Nearness of You Jazzland One track solo piano; most tracks trio, with Larry Ridley (bass), Frank Gant (drums)
1962 Solar Jazzland Most tracks trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Frank Gant (drums); some tracks quartet, with Les Spann (guitar, flute) added
1962 Red's Good Groove Jazzland Quintet, with Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Sam Jones (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1962 When There Are Grey Skies Prestige Trio, with Wendell Marshall (bass), Charlie Persip (drums)
1963 Can't See for Lookin' Prestige Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums)
1971 The Quota MPS Quartet, with Jimmy Heath (tenor sax, soprano sax), Peck Morrison (bass), Lenny McBrowne (drums)
1971 Auf Wiedersehen MPS Trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Roy Brooks (drums)
1974 Groovin' Live Alfa Jazz Trio, with James Leary (bass), Eddie Marshall (drums); in concert
1974 Groovin' Live II Alfa Jazz Trio, with James Leary (bass), Eddie Marshall (drums); in concert
1977 Keystones! Xanadu Trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums); in concert
1977 Groovin' Red Keystone Trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums); in concert
1977 Red Alert Galaxy Some tracks trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Frank Butler (drums); one track quartet, with Nat Adderley (cornet) added; two tracks sextet, with Harold Land and Ira Sullivan (tenor sax) added; one track quartet, with Sullivan, Carter, Butler
1977 Crossings Galaxy Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1978 Feelin' Red Muse Trio, with Sam Jones (bass), Al Foster (drums)
1978 I Left My Heart... Muse Some tracks trio, with Chris Amberger (bass), Eddie Moore (drums); some tracks quartet, with Leo Wright (alto sax) added; in concert; released 1985
1978 Equinox Galaxy Trio, with Richard Davis (bass), Roy Haynes (drums)
1979 Stepping Out Galaxy Some tracks trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Ben Riley (drums); some tracks quartet, with Kenny Burrell (guitar) added
1979 So Long Blues Galaxy Some tracks trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Ben Riley (drums); two tracks quartet, with Kenny Burrell (guitar) added; some tracks quintet, with Julian Priester (trombone), George Coleman (tenor sax) added; released 1984
1979 Strike Up the Band Galaxy One track quartet with Julian Priester (trombone), Ron Carter (bass), Ben Riley (drums); one track quartet with George Coleman (tenor sax), Carter (bass), Riley (drums); three tracks quintet, with all listed

Compilations

As sidemanEdit

With Arnett Cobb

With John Coltrane

With Miles Davis

With Curtis Fuller

With Jackie McLean

With Charlie Parker

  • Charlie Parker at Storyville (Blue Note 1953)

With Art Pepper

With Sonny Rollins

With Phil Woods

  • Sugan (Prestige Status, 1957)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dobbins, Bill; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "Garland, Red". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 14. ISBN 1561592846.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Red Garland Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. ^ Simpson, Joel. "Red Garland Profile". All About Jazz. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  4. ^ Seeing Red. Texas Monthly. 1977-03-01.
  5. ^ Szwed, John (2004-01-09). So What: The Life of Miles Davis. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780684859835.
  6. ^ Giddins, Garry (April 3, 1978). "Red Garland's Texas Cocktail". The Village Voice. p. 49.
  7. ^ Mathieson, Kenny (2012). Giant Steps: Bebop And The Creators Of Modern Jazz, 1945-65. Canongate Books. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-85786-617-2.
  8. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  9. ^ Pareles, John (26 April 1984). "Red Garland, a Pianist in Miles Davis Quintet". The New York Times.

External linksEdit