Earl Fatha Hines
Hines was a key figure in the transition from Swing to Bebop -- his offbeat left-hand jabs brought heavy syncopation to his work in Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, and his octave melodies influenced scores of musicians that followed. An important part of Hines' innovation was his acceptance of fresh perceptions in his band -- while others may have felt they were too modern, Hines welcomed Charlie Parker's and Dizzy Gillespie's new ideas. In addition, fresh-sounding Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine were both featured vocalists in his group at various points. From Big Band to Dixieland ensembles, Hines always played with an effervescent joy, infecting his bands and his piano playing with his unique rhythmic intensity and stylistic individuality.