Jazz Profiles - Herman Chittison

Herman Chittison In Paris, 1934
Sunday, March 8, 2015 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

Join us from 2 to 7pm Sunday, March 8 for an in-depth profile on pianist Herman Chittison, Hosted by Charles Iselin. Though he never achieved widespread fame, Chittison was a unique and masterful pianist of the Swing era, famed for his talent as a vocal accompanist. A native of Kentucky, born in 1908, Chittison had his first break as a musician when he joined Zack Whyte’s Band, but his career took a significant leap when he joined Willie Lewis on his 1934 tour of Europe. There he gained prominence, recording extensively with Lewis as well as with Louis Armstrong, Bill Coleman and in solo piano performances for the newly founded Disques Swing label. He was also a member of the Harlem Rhythm Makers, a group of American Jazz musicians who performed in Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt in 1938 and 1939. Chittison returned to the United States at the start of the Second World War and for the remainder of his career would perform in smaller ensembles, leading a trio, working with a variety of vocalists and focusing on solo performances until his death in 1967. Though Herman Chittison’s style was often described as heavily influenced by that of Art Tatum, it also drew extensively from the music of Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson. These and other themes will be explored in depth throughout the show. Tune in near the end of the profile to hear never issued recordings from Chittison’s own library of his trio and home rehearsal recordings.