Erroll Garner was and still is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. He was described by one jazz critic as a “brilliant virtuoso” and “one of the most distinctive of all pianists.”
Another writer said of Garner: “Playing the piano for him was as easy as breathing is for you and me.” His numerous recordings, compositions and performances remain classics and are held up as standards to which other musicians continue to use to judge themselves.
However, there was one major surprising factor about Garner which made him even more amazing.
A music prodigy from the age of 3, Garner was was completely self-taught, and he remained through his entire life an “ear” player. That is, he never learned to write a single note of music.
And because of his short stature (he was only 5′ 2″), he would sit on on the bench on top of telephone directories so he could reach the keyboard. Garner passed away in 1977.
Now a documentary by filmmaker Atticus Brady about his life and career and music is due. Erroll Garner: No One Can Hear You Read will be released on DVD from First Run Features on April 9th.