When the master pianist Art Tatum lay dying, the legend goes, he had a word of warning for a younger pianist who had come to see him: “Watch out for the little man.” Erroll Garner
Garner was so little that he carried a Manhattan telephone book with him wherever he went in order to reach the keys. He was silent onstage, rarely saying a word to the huge audiences that turned out to hear him. And he didn’t know one note from another — on paper — but he was the most prolific, best loved jazz pianist of his era.
Jazz: A History of America’s Music; by Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns