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Jazz pianist's estate makes musical gifts to UC Berkeley

December 9, 2009 |  3:21 pm

More than twenty-six years after his death, gifts to UC Berkeley from the estate of jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines will help ensure that the music plays on.

Hines, who lived in Oakland and once lectured on the Berkeley campus, was an innovative and much-loved musician whose orchestra was a training ground for a generation of jazz stars such as Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughn. Now, a $258,000 bequest from Hines’ estate will help support a UC Berkeley program that provides free music lessons to gifted low-income children in grades four to 12, campus officials announced this week.

In addition, Hines’ papers, stage costumes and orchestration charts are being donated to UC Berkeley's Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library and will become a cornerstone of a new archive of African American music. "These materials not only document the career of a jazz pioneer, but they also illuminate decades of musical life in the Bay Area," head music librarian John Shepard said in a statement.

Hines, who died at 77 in April 1983, was often called "the trumpet-style pianist" for his brassy and rhythmically bright manner of playing.

-- Larry Gordon