Once called "the first modern jazz pianist," Earl Hines differed from the stride pianists of the 1920s by breaking up the stride rhythms with unusual accents from his left hand. While his right hand often played octaves so as to ring clearly over ensembles, Hines had the trickiest left hand in the business, often suspending time recklessly but without ever losing the beat. One of the all-time great pianists, Hines was a major influence on Teddy Wilson, Jess Stacey, Joe Sullivan, Nat King Cole, and even to an extent on Art Tatum. He was also an underrated composer responsible for "Rosetta," "My Monday Date," and "You Can Depend on Me," among others.

Hines traveled the world performing, recorded dozens of albums, and remained famous and renowned up until his death at the age of 79.