Jazz pianist William M. (Red) Garland was born in Dallas May 13, 1923. He learned to play clarinet as a child and alto saxophone at Booker T. Washington High School, though he did not graduate. He joined the Army in 1944 and served at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he learned to play piano from other servicemen.
After leaving the Army, Garland joined a band led by Henry (Buster) Smith in 1944 and played in New York City and Philadelphia with Charlie Parker, Billy Eckstine, Coleman Hawkins, and Fats Navarro. Garland's block chords became a hallmark of classic jazz. He later joined the Miles' Davis' Quintet, playing side man in recordings of "Workin' and Steamin'," "Round About Midnight," and "Milestones" between 1955-1958. The group achieved fame and introduced a new era of jazz.
Garland formed his own trio and cut three albums in 1957: All Mornin' Long, Soul Junction, and High Pressure.
Garland returned to Dallas in 1965 due to his mother's illness and resided there in his later years. He cut a new album, Red Alert, in 1977 and performed in the late 1970's. He last performed at Lush Life in New York City's Greenwich Village in 1983.
Garland passed away in his home in south Dallas in 1984. Click HERE to listen to hear the Red Garland Trio perform "It's Impossible," one of many classic jazz hits.