Red Garland

Red Garland

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April 23, 1984 (Age 60) died

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May 13, 1923 Birthday

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Dallas, Texas, U.S. Birthplace

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Red Garland was a pianist and bandleader best known for his work with Miles Davis. Garland was a member of Davis' classic quintet along with John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, and Paul Chambers from 1955 to 1958. After leaving Davis, Garland led his own trio and also made several recordings as a quintet with John Coltrane and Donald Byrd. In the early 1960s, Garland became frustrated by the lack of opportunities for jazz players and returned to Texas where he performed locally while caring for his ailing mother. He released several albums in the 1970s before dying of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 60.


Red Garland had a brief career as a welterweight boxer in the 1940s. Red Garland's block chord style of piano playing was particularly influential. Garland's last performance was at Lush Life in New York City's Greenwich Village in 1983.

Early Life

Red Garland was born William Garland in Dallas, Texas in 1923. He grew up listening to big bands and as a child played the clarinet and later studied the alto saxophone in high school. Garland left school at 18 to join the army and while stationed in Arizona he began taking piano lessons from a fellow soldier. After leaving the army he joined trumpeter Hot Lips Page on tour and decided to settle in New York when the tour ended in 1946. Garland played in nightclubs backing musicians such as Charlie Parker, Billy Eckstine, and Coleman Hawkins before joining the Miles Davis' Quintet in 1955.