Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Black History Month - Earl "Fatha" Hines


If you sell a drum in your own village, you get the money and keep the sound. (Madagascar)

1940: Earl "Fatha" Hines (1903-1983) and his orchestra recorded "Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues”.

When I think about jazz pianists, Oscar Peterson comes to mind. And of course Jamaica’s Monty Alexander. But before them was Earl “Fatha” Hines was an outstanding piano soloist in jazz. He was also a composer, bandleader, and recording artist.

Hines came from a musical family was musical. His father played the cornet, his mother and sister played the organ, and his brother played the piano. His mother was his first music teacher.

Hines seemed to be on track for a classical music career when he fell in love with jazz. He formed his first band when he was 15, and later joined up with Louis Armstrong. Between Armstrong’s unique voice and Hines’ scorching jazz piano, the two created jazz history. Jazz legends such as Billy Eckstine, Dizzie Gillespie and Charlie Parker worked with Hines’ band.

He earned his name “Father” after he lectured a radio announcer about his drinking habits. He didn’t much care for the name, but he is indeed considered to be the father of modern jazz piano. Hines was at the forefront of the Hot Jazz style; he was always taking chances with his music, and coming up with new and exciting ideas.

Also on this date in:

1920: The first successful organized Negro Baseball League was established at a YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri by Andrew "Rube" Foster who served as its president.

1970: Joseph L. Searles III became the first black floor member and floor broker in the New York Stock Exchange. He worked as a floor partner in the firm of Neburger, Loeb and Company.

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When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at