The original Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike burned in the early morning on May 30, 1971, some hours after Lennie locked up for the night. The little roadhouse on the northbound side of Route 1 in West Peabody was a total loss. The Earl Hines Quartet played the last set there. Lennie Sogoloff brought Hines to his club five times between 1965 and 1971. One, in September 1967, featured Fatha in a jazz piano workshop with Jaki Byard and Chick Corea.

Lennie's flyer from Sep 1967

Piano Workshop at Lennie’s, September 1967

The jazz piano workshop was nothing new for Lennie’s. Sogoloff put together quite a few single-session workshops over the years, but this might have been the only one for piano players. The other workshops were logistically easier. Three guitar players? No problem. Three drummers, as for the Gretsch Drum Nights? Lennie did it three times. But how would Lennie present the three pianists on the afternoon of September 10?

Hines took the stage first, playing what Down Beat called “an entertaining and instructive capsule history of jazz piano.” It is too bad that Hines never recorded such a history. Then Byard took over, playing snatches of everything from Debussy to Tatum to Shearing. Then Byard moved over to an upright (apparently Lennie had his old upright stashed for just such an occasion) and turned the grand over to Chick Corea. The two played duets on standards, including “Green Dolphin Street.” Then Corea played a set with bassist John Neves and drummer Alan Dawson.

This was the final day of the Hines’s two weeks at Lennie’s (next stop: the Monterey Jazz Festival). Later that night, Hines played with his quartet of tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson, bassist Bill Pemberton and drummer Oliver Jackson. Paul Gonsalves dropped by to sit in on “Body and Soul” and “Satin Doll.” Such surprises were not uncommon at Lennie’s.

The duet approach was nothing new for Hines and Byard, shown in this video playing together in Berlin in 1965, with Alan Dawson on the drums. In 1972, Hines and Byard recorded an album titled simply Duet!