Erroll Louis Garner was one of the greats of jazz piano history.
Garner went to New York City in 1944, where he began a series of engagements at small clubs along the legendary 52nd Street, working with bassist Slam Stewart before forming a trio of his own.
Garner was an immediate sensation, achieving recognition through a style that owed little or nothing to anyone who had preceded him.
During a visit to Los Angeles in 1947, he played in a record session with Charlie Parker that was unique in the recorded annals of both men. In the late 1940s Garner was a ubiquitous figure on records, playing in sessions for dozen of labels.
With the advent of LPs, he became a big seller, his most famous album being "Concerts by the Sea." During this period he wrote his best-known composition, "Misty," first recorded by Garner himself in 1956 with Mitch Miller and his orchestra. It was later matched with words by Johnny Burke and became a hit for Johnny Mathis, Sarah Vaughan and many other singers. The tune played a prominent part in the motion picture "Play Misty for Me."
Enjoying tremendous popularity overseas, Garner made his first European tour in 1957. The next year he became the first jazz artist ever to be booked by impresario Sol Hurok.
In 1963, Garner completed his first assignment as a film music writer, composing four themes for "A New Kind of Love."
Garner appeared on the "Today," "Tonight," Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Merv Griffin and innumerable other shows.
Garner was an innovator equaled only by a handful of pianists such as Earl Hines, Fats Waller and Art Tatum.