At just 5-foot-2, jazz legend Erroll Garner used to stack phone books on his piano bench to properly reach the keys. But that didn’t stop him from making a name for himself as one of the genre’s greats, crafting tunes that would become standards—and even allegedly holding the title as Johnny Carson’s favorite musician.
Though Garner died too young—at age 55—in 1977, his memory lives on with both a devout fan club and, of course, in his music. Coming September 18, a new collection featuring 11 unreleased tracks will be available. Errol Garner’s The Complete Concert by the Sea celebrates the 60th anniversary of his best-selling live album of the same name, which was recorded as part of the concert series that laid the groundwork for the Monterey Jazz Festival. Along with extra tracks, the collection includes audio from both the show’s announcer and interviews with band members.
“I don’t think I need to tell you how significant a figure Erroll Garner is in the history of American music,” Grammy-winning jazz writer Dan Morgenstern notes. “His artistry transcended categories over four decades. Without ever saying a word or indulging in showbiz trimmings, he could just play the piano and hold thousands enraptured.”
Below, hear the previously unreleased “Bernie’s Tune” for the first time, and click here to preorder the album.