GXB15208 Erroll Garner by George Sottung © Wind River Studios

Dubbed the “Picasso of the Piano,” Erroll Garner — born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 15, 1921 — began playing the piano at age three. By 1930, he was performing professionally on KDKA, a Pittsburgh radio station, with the Candy Kids. Garner was self-taught and played by ear. Already an established performer in clubs, theaters, radio and television, Garner made his solo concert debut at Cleveland’s Music Hall in March of 1950. Generating standing ovations and critical acclaim, this performance launched his concert career. Garner’s popularity extended worldwide and his recording career spanned four decades, including the landmark album Concert by the Sea. Currently, there are several previously-unissued new albums by Garner in release, as well as numerous re-issues of his earlier classic recordings. A major influence on several generations of pianists, Garner was much honored in his lifetime. His compositions and recordings continue to inspire posthumous performances and tributes. An original, an innovator and an improviser, Garner seldom performed the same song the same way twice. He said of his work, “I always play what I feel. I always feel like me, but I’m a different me every day. Playing is like life. Either you feel it or you don’t.” He was also a prolific composer; three songbooks of his compositions are in print. Out of his more than 200 works, Garner’s most famous piece, Misty, is the title song of the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me.

Image and Text © Wind River Studios