|Erroll Garner at the piano, 1946. (Photo by William P. Gottlieb, courtesy of Library of Congress.)|
On September 19, 1955 Erroll Garner and his trio were booked to play the auditorium at the Sunset Center in Carmel, California. The gig included bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Denzil DeCosta Best. It paid a guaranteed $650 plus sixty cents “privilege of net receipts.” The band was scheduled to play two sets between 8:30 and 11pm. At first glance the contract was just another gig in the life of Erroll Garner, one of the best and most-beloved jazz pianists of his era who travelled and performed regularly during the fifties in between recording dates for his label at the time, Columbia Records. A year earlier, Garner recorded his biggest hit “Misty” which put his name and music into the mainstream.