W i l l i a m "R e d" G a r l a n d
William M. Garland was born May 13, 1927 in Dallas, Texas. Dallas was the place where I met Red Garland, as I lived there in 1980. I was able to hang with him for a bit and especially hear him at a club called The Recovery Room. This was also a place, as I was informed by the owner, where Barry Keiner signed the guest book as he was coming through Dallas with Buddy Rich's band. As far as Garland's nickname, it was derived from the color he dyed his hair (at one point in time). He also took a try at professional boxing. The only problem was, on one occasion Red could not bring himself to knock out a friend who he was in the ring with. As the story has it, one of Red's corner people exclaimed,"You should go back to playing piano!" Obviously, the world's jazz piano fans are glad Red Garland didn't have that killer instinct in the ring, as he turned out to be one the most passionate artists in the history of the jazz.
Unknowingly, Red Garland ended up doing something quite significant to the future of jazz. He was the person who introduced John Coltrane to Miles Davis. We all know what transpired after that. Coltrane went on to record some of his most magnificent music as the tenor player in the classic Miles Davis Quintet. Red Garland was the pianist on many of these recordings.
Red Garland went on to enjoy a wonderful, but subtle career in the world of jazz, as he never received the accolades he deserved. Red was what some would describe as a musician's musician. What that meant was, many of the pianists, if they didn't have work on that particular night, would come out to hear Red. I strongly suggest you purchase some Red Garland for your collection. The Red Garland Trio recordings are most worthy, to say the least.
Red Garland died on April 23, 1984 in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, the place where I had the extreme honor and privilege of hearing him perform and especially meeting this fine gentleman of jazz.