"Pastel" is a song written, composed, and arranged by Red Callender.
With Erroll Garner on piano, he's accompanied by Red Callender (bass); and Doc West (drums). Recorded in C.P. MacGregor Studios, Los Angeles, CA, February 19, 1947. (Dial Records)
Erroll Louis Garner (June 15, 1921 -- January 2, 1977) was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad "Misty", has become a jazz standard. Allmusic.com calls him "one of the most distinctive of all pianists" and a "brilliant virtuoso".
Born with his twin brother Ernest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to an African American family on June 15, 1921, Erroll began playing piano at the age of three. His elder siblings were taught piano by Miss Bowman. From an early age Erroll would sit down and play anything she'd demonstrated, just like Miss Bowman, his eldest sister Martha said. He attended George Westinghouse High School, as did fellow pianists Billy Strayhorn and Ahmad Jamal. Garner was self-taught and remained an "ear player" all his life – he never learned to read music. At the age of seven, he began appearing on the radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh with a group called the Candy Kids. By the age of 11, he was playing on the Allegheny riverboats. At 14 in 1937, he joined local saxophonist Leroy Brown.
He played locally in the shadow of his older pianist brother Linton Garner and moved to New York in 1944. He briefly worked with the bassist Slam Stewart, and though not a bebop musician per se, in 1947 played with Charlie Parker on the famous "Cool Blues" session. Although his admission to the Pittsburgh music union was initially refused because of his inability to read music, they eventually relented in 1956 and made him an honorary member. Garner is credited with having a superb memory of music. After attending a concert by the Russian classical pianist Emil Gilels, Garner returned to his apartment and was able to play a large portion of the performed music by recall.
Short in stature (5 ft 2 in), Garner performed sitting on multiple telephone directories.] Considering that his small hands could barely span an octave on the piano keyboard, his rapid right-handed octave and chordal passages were all the more amazing. He was also known for his vocalizations while playing, which can be heard on many of his recordings. He helped to bridge the gap for jazz musicians between nightclubs and the concert hall.
Garner made many tours both at home and abroad, and produced a large volume of recorded work. He was, reportedly, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson's favorite jazz musician, appearing on Carson's show many times over the years.
Garner's first recordings were made in late 1944 at the apartment of Timme Rosenkrantz; these were subsequently issued as the five-volume Overture to Dawn series on Blue Note Records. His recording career advanced in the late 1940s when several sides such as "Fine and Dandy" and "Sweet 'n' Lovely" were cut. His 1955 live album Concert by the Sea was a best-selling jazz album in its day and features Eddie Calhoun on bass and Denzil Best on drums. This recording of a performance at the Sunset Center, a former school in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, was made using relatively primitive sound equipment, but for George Avakian the decision to release the recording was easy. Other works include 1951's Long Ago and Far Away and 1974's Magician, both of which see Garner perform a number of classic standards. Often the trio was expanded to add Latin percussion, usually a conga.
In 1964, Garner appeared in the UK on the music series Jazz 625 broadcast on the BBC's new second channel. The programme was hosted by Steve Race, who introduced Garner's trio with Eddie Calhoun on bass and Kelly Martin on drums. Because Garner could not write down his musical ideas, he used to record them on tape, to be later transcribed by others.
Erroll Garner died from a cardiac arrest on January 2, 1977. He is buried in Pittsburgh's Homewood Cemetery.