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In the coming weeks we will be adding pictures and articles from our father's many scrap books to this site. These images and articles will span over 60 years of jazz history. We hope you will come back to visit and celebrate his life and career with us.






 

 

 

 

Guestbook

Thank you for visiting our pages. Please feel free to Add to this guestbook. Use the comments section on the Add To Page if you have experiences with or memories of our father that you would like to share.

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Mr. Hatfield was always a presence of grace and of solidity. I always felt welcome in your home and he was always so generous and real. I can remember times he was firm with us when we were out of line. But it was always just what we needed. Of course his musical genius added a whole extra dimension to his character. I feel privileged to have known such an awesome person.

Patrick J. McDonald
Department of Philosophy
Seattle Pacific University


I still hear your dad greet me every time i enter your house..."Hello Christian..what are you up to?"...He was an awesome spirit..i know he's looking down on us watching out for us ..Mr. Hatfield is jamming with the greats in Heaven...keep a space open for me..Lil Kriz..Christian Beeber
Christian Beeber < >
Seattle, wa USA -


Ernie Sr. was a great guy and my biggest musical influence. He taught me how to "just listen" when I tried to play a song I had never heard. "Less is more", "silence is also music", and "listen, listen, and listen again" were lessons that began to make complete sense as I matured musically. Ernie was a musical giant but never ever boasted or talked down to anyone. His musical abilities spoke for itself. I spent many nights and weekends sharing dinner and conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Hatfield who were always generous and just nice people. I learned so much about music and life from your family and I carry it with me to this day. Ernie Sr. and Mrs. Hatfield were always supportive of Ernie Jr., Mark Seidenverg, and myself in our high school musical endeavors and people I have quoted him continuously throughout my life. We lost touch through the years, but I will never forget him, Mrs. Hatfield and Ernie Jr. for their friendship and kindness. I am sorry for your loss and I wish I would have found out sooner to respond. Take care and I wish your family all of the best.


He was a great man.
Javonne <www.vonnieadams>
seattle, wa USA -
Bryan, you and your family are in my prayers. I remember getting a ride from St. Joe's in the purple station wagon down Madison to my grandmothers house. Most times we drove past to your house where we would test your latest beatmaking equipment. Your father was such an inspiration to my musical development. He was always generous with his advice on life and how he touched the piano. When he played I saw the piano as a real instrument and that there were no limits to what could be done with it.
Richard Williams < >
North Hollywood, CA USA -
Ernie always made me feel like a close friend. He and I dug the same jazz music and it was he who intoduced me to Monty Alexander. "He sounds like he has thirteen fingers!", he used to say. I still have a couple of cassettes he made for me. I loved and resepected him a lot. He's jammin' in heaven for sure and probably accompanies God's girl friend who "sings".
Chuck Johnston < >
Bellevue, WA USA -
I heard Ernie around town for many years; I think the first was the Flame Tavern in the late 50s.I never realized how great a player he was until he played my joint where I was mature enough to be impressed by his simple,direct, no fluff, TASTY STYLE.After awhile I was allowed to be even more impressed by his personal style. I would listen to him even if he could't play alick. Not too many Ernies in our midst.
Phil Lofurno < >
Seattle, Wa USA -
You meet certain people in your life and you know you were blessed in knowing them. In all my interactions with Ernie Hatfield he left me feeling that way. His word were humble, his smile bright, his laughter easy and his music was beautiful. It was a pleasure to know him and an honor to have spent some time with him. I never went away from a conversation with him not having learned something and never ever felt like he was trying to instruct me. My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones that survive him. Thank you Ernie. Rest in Peace
Peter Tucker < >
Seattle, WA USA -
Hi MOM and ernie and bryan.I loved "POPS" very much. If Danielle was here she would be heart broken, but i suspect that he is in heaven with her right now, and giving each other lots of hugs and kisses!My heart feels heavy with this great loss.I remember the first time i met pop, ernie jr. had brought me home to your house to meet you{mom} and pop and he sat down and played the piano for me.It was so tremendous!Pop was Danielles grandfather and i know she loved him very much as i do.He came to her funeral and i know he loved her just as much. He was also greatgrandfather to her daughter Trisha Marie Bowers who is now 14 yrs. old.when i brought Trisha over to meet her Great grandparents the first thing she did was sit down and play the piano. I guess it will always run in the family.Ernie JR. please E-mail me. I will miss pop for as long as i live. God Bless. I love you mom, Ernie and Bryan please take care of yourselves. All my love and respect. love, Linda. Phone-206-277-2829
Linda Lee Castle-Minaker < >
seattle, wa USA -
We love Ernest J. Hatfield (Pop) He has touched our lives in so many ways. Pop will always be remembered in this family, through his 4 grandchildren they each have a little part of Pop Hatfield in them and through them Ernest Hatfield will live forever
Rosalind Yvette Adams < >
USA -
Hello, my name is Russell Paige Smith, Sr., and I am the son and youngest child of Ernie's daughter, Ernestine E. Smith. While I have never met my grandfather, we've spoken several times via telephone, and I too share in expressing my condolences on behalf of our grandfather's "East Coast" family. It has truly been a devestating loss for our family this year, losing my sister Renee, back in March, 2002, and now to lose the grandfather whom I've always wanted to meet, as I too became very passionate about music. The highlight of this passion was my performance in the Detroit Mont. Jazz Festival in 1991, where I had the opportunity to perform with Mr. Dizzy Gillespie as a member of the Tillis Butler arranged MOTIF Vocal Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Bennie Harris from New York City. It was my wish to meet my grandfather one day, and to share with him my experiences in music as well, primarioy as a vocalist, however I too play the piano. It is my desire to one day meet the half of our family that we have yet to meet, as too many years have passed without our family knowing and understanding the full blessing of family that God blessed us with when our parents and grandparents were born. My daughter, who is 21 years of age and a Jr. at Drexel University, also shares our passion for music. My grandfather never had an opportunity to realize his love and passion for music has passed on to future generations, as my 3 and 4 year old daughters have also demonstrated musical abilities that I look forward to supporting, all with the knowledge that their great grandfather passed something special on to us all. God Bless, and tell the family that while we have never met, I and my family send our love, and heartfelt condolences for our loss. I look forward to meeting everyone soon. _______________________________ R. Paige Smith, Sr.
R. Paige Smith, Sr. < >
New Castle, DE USA -
Ginny, Mary Kaye and I had the opportunity to meet Ernie and MaryAnne at BBH during his "tune up" stay a few years back...what a truly unique, creative, gentle soul your father was. MaryAnne was "grace" in person and they made us feel like we'd already known them for years. Each week Ernie would spin wonderfully descriptive tales of his music experiences for us to enjoy (Ok, yes, we had to prompt him a bit!). Coming from the music business (now) it was really a wonderful gift for me to hear all his stories of "back when" and all about the jazz greats that Ernie had come in contact with or performed with. Every week (Thursdays) we looked forward to seeing your Mom and Dad...he always had a smile on his face and a warm greeting for us and it made our shift go all that much more quickly. I came to look forward to Thursdays because Ernie & MaryAnne would be there to chat with. Ernie will definitely be missed. You shared your life with an amazing man. We wish you peace. Linda Zopfi
Linda Zopfi < >
USA -
eAbout 1968, while a law student at the U.W., late one night I wandered into a restaurant and bar on Broadway, then called DeCaro's to get a late bite. They had a piano bar in the back room and I heard this rich sound coming out of there. I went back and sat at the piano bar until they closed because this guy could really play. I introduced myself to your dad and went back repeatedly to hear him. Meanwhile, shortly thereafter I was talking to my new landlady Roz Stone and mentioned this fabulous piano player only to learn he was one of her best friends. That was the start of a 35 year friendship. We were priviledge to have Ernie play at all our big office parties for the legal community of Seattle, to grace our home with his music and personality, to introduce us to his family. As someone else has noted, he was a great musician but a greater human being. My wife describe him as gentle grace touched with sweetness. I shared a taste for good whiskey and Camels with him on more than a few occassions and heard some wonderful stories of his musical life. However, he was most proud of his family than of his own accomplishments. His picture and the profile from Earshot Jazz publication hangs in my office where he was dearly loved by Jane and Mary of our staff too. He greatly enriched my life. Boy am I glad I wandered into DeCaro's that night 35 years ago. We shall miss him but we have the tapes to hear him forever.
Jan Eric Peterson < >
Seatttle, wa USA -
Dear Hatfield Family, My family and I wish to offer our love and condolences to you. My wife, Cathy, and I, and our two children, Sarah and Veronica, have known your family through many years at St Joseph's and I have taught Bryan at O'Dea. Cathy and I can remember seeing you at St. Joe's, watching Bryan growing up and speaking to Ernie waiting out in the car for you all those years. He was always so nice to us. We came to love and look forward to seeing you there each Sunday. Bryan, you have always been one of those many O'Dea students who has never left my memory. It amazes me how many years I have known you. You and all of your family are in our prayers. Christ's peace be with all of you, Dan, Cathy, Sarah and Veronica Doyle
Dan Doyle < >
Seattle, WA USA -
Mr. Hatfield was like a father to me. He was the type of man that if you needed to hear something special that would lift your spirits, Mr. Hatfield had it all. Just that name alone has it's own special ring that would make anyone's spirit special. Mr. Hatfield, you will always be in my heart, mind, thoughts and spirit. With love always, Lisa M. Allen
Lisa M. Allen < >
Seattle, WA USA -
hi, ernie, I went to garfield and i think i met your dad once. I was in class of 69 and i remember mojohand. peace John Shepherd
john shepherd < >
seattle, wa USA -
Mr. Hatfield was a man who when spoke uttered profound words every time we spoke. Thank you for your inspirations through out the years. Frank Morales
frank morales < >
renton, wa USA -
Ernie is still with us through his legacy and the way he lived his life. He is a shining example of a Role model. I met Ernie through his son Bryan who is one of my closet friends, I think back to some of the memories and one in particular stands out...it was May of 1996 and Bryan and I were in his room writing lyrics for a song we were making when an earthquake struck...I was literally shaken up and I'm sure you could tell by the look on my face, it was the first quake I had ever been in. Well Bryan and I went into the living room where his Mom and Dad were watching the mariners game. We were excited/frightened but Mr.Hatfield was as calm as ever, I sat down on the couch (a nervous wreck) and Mr. Hatfield told me about the earthquakes he had been in during his life, and that really helped to calm me down and get me focused on writing lyrics again. I guess the moral of that story is..great men stay calm in times of adversity...definately a lesson well learned. We had another earthquake last year and I was as calm as ever...Thank you Ernie! We all know Mr.Hatfield was an incredible pianist but as good as he was on the piano he was an even better humanbeing. My condolences go out to the entire Hatfield family and too all those who love Ernie Hatfield. Ernie Hatfield is an American Legend!
Thomas Washington III < >
Seattle, WA USA -
Ernie's smile and good humor on the many gigs we played together will always enrich my memories. God bless Ernie Hatfield for a life well-lived. He was an inspiration to us all. Chuck Metcalf
Chuck Metcalf < >
Emeryville, CA USA -
Ernie gave to all of us, with all his heart. He taught us honesty, trust and the god given gift of music. We will all miss him, but never ever forget him. With all our love & sympathy, Susan, Benny & Peter Madsen
Peter, Susan & Benny Madsen < >
Bradford, VT USA -

I will really miss your dad. I always enjoyed talking to him when I visited the house and sharing what was happening with each other. He was an incredible spirit and human being, and really the last of breed when it came to jazz musicians - the "real thing"! I remember once after school when I was about 14, Bryan had started getting into scratching and I had just started playing guitar - I think I was playing pretty bad Judas Priest riffs over his breakbeats - and he told me I was a good guitar player :) well, at least he knew how to nuture a musician! The other thing that used to make me laugh is having him poke his head in on a session for a minute and then walk away shaking his head saying "Everything is in Eb!" I will miss him (and certainly his stories of his playing days), as I'm sure many others will.
Erik Madsen < >
Los Angeles, CA USA -


Dear Ernest, Bryan and Ernestine,

I am delighted to find this website.  I was sitting here missing my dear friend and thought. Maybe there was a website now, it is 2008.  I stopped by the house the other day seeing how it was being remodeled.

And of course the old grey car was gone.  The garden hose was missing which broke my heart. More on that later.

Your Father and I met at the corner Deli in Seattle near the family home on Harrison.

I was a telephone lineman. Your father was , ,well your father.

He was always there every morning as I would and my truck partner would come in for breakfast or coffee break. He'd have toast and coffee. An egg once in awhile.

Ernie and I spoke over that diner table for two years at least two or three times a week.

I knew nothing of his music background nor he mine.

One day the three of us were having coffee when my truck partner proded me for the results of my audition with a band signed to MCA records.

When Ernie heard this his posture changed and he lit up with that huge smile of his.

"I didnt know you were in music" he said. I asked him if he played and he said "oh I play around some".
Which when anyone says something so modest I know they are accomplished. I didnt push. Ronnie, the store owner then, later told me what his accomplishments are and were.

We began an even better friendship then.

Ernie taught me my first blues 1 4 5's on that little piano on Harrison. I struggled and he helped.

I began to hire Ernie for house parties. He was the light of the room. Providing an excellent escape for those guests who came solo or were wanting to escape the overwhelm of a large party. Many guests would sit an listen and enjoy the view over Alki Beach.

I then hired him for a St Patricks party. I had moved to the north end. Flo Raynor was there and another famous local who frankly escapes me at this moment.

So as the party grew folks asked for songs. Flo agreed and sang one or two. The guests knowing I had been taking voice lessons for less than a year chided me into a performance. (my Maestro always said never sing for friends and family they are the harhest judge and can be cruel) I trusted Ernie and we agreed to performing Summertime. I told him E flat. We did not discuss style.

After the first few notes I knew I was in trouble. I was following Flo which wasnt smart as she is spectacular. And later I realized I had changed my key in study with Maestro to A and wasnt experienced enough at the time to make the correction. I noticed when I looked at my books at home later that day.

So the more Ernie tried to come my way and I tried to go his we basically chased our keys into a train wreck. Not to mention he was doing a jazz version and I a Broadway performance hall style. CRRRRAAASSSHH

I was looking out the corner of my eye trying to change my grimace to a smile while I sang and he played with such a silly ecouragement that the animation was hilarious. Coaching me on to the correct key.

And we cleared the room. You could have heard a pin drop. And the party went on. In the next room. Thank God for food to distract from the agony. I got the courage up to go into the next room and Ernie played on.

The next day I went to the Deli. I couldnt even get in the door. Ernie was poised in his usual location first table toward the counter full view of the door way. I started to laugh at first sight and so did he.

He said "Man, where were you going with that tune". I laughed and said "ME!" what were you doing? Then I told him the mistake. We laughed from the belly for some time.

So time went on. I got married took on a small son, David, who is now 22.  And Ernie helped me as a Father would, mentoring me on raising him and how to talk to him.

Then we had my Daughter, Myra, now 13. Ernie loved to see Myra, he didnt see David I dont think.

Myra helped with the Bulldog awards escorting local fames to the stage to receive their awards. I have photos, with the Bulldogproductions awards show on Alki Beach.

Ernie was inducted into my hall of fame and honored in front of an audience as one of Seattle;s most cherished musicians.

Myra escorted him on the stage. Local talent and International star with a Grammy nominated video, BluMeadows Welcomed Ernie to the microphone.

His reception was very well recieved. I have it on video as well.

That was a great day.

Complete with BLuMeadows young sons invading the ever so meticulous green room tent Myra had organized. And well they were boys, much to her disdain.

LOL

At that time Ernie was carrying his oxygen tank.

Time went on. And during that time I was going through a divorce. I didnt want to tell Ernie due to upsetting him. I didnt know for sure which way it was going to go yet.

As the divorce got worse, I didnt want to contact Ernie as by now he could read me like a book. I finally called and Marion answered the phone.
She asked where I had been and said Ernie was in Baily Bushay?? with spin cancer.

I thanked her and went right away to visit.

When I arrived they told me Ernie was out watching the fish in the tank. They said he likes to watch the fish. Now I knew Ernie and he had never ever mentioned no fish.

So I went to see him. And laughed. He had the staff set him in the wheel chair by the fish tank just enough so he could watch his house from the window.

I said "watching fish huh?" he laughed and ssid "Shh".
They dont need to know.

So we kept the secret between us.

And soon as he said sshhh he said" I told that boy to put up the hose. Why cant he roll that hose up?" and put it away like I taught him".

The hose was across the behind or bumper of his old car. I think it was a buick? Kinda like the hose had unfolded from an attempt to roll it up.

I just sighed and chuckled at the same time. A man not wanting to let go. Still had his pride and what was important to him. Clean, tidy and integrity.

A Military thing or maybe family or both I dont know.

So we talked a bit. Years had gone by since he had heard me play the piano. I wanted to show him my progress. So he agreed excitedly and I wheeled him over to piano just a few steps away.

I sat and played a barrelhouse tune "sloppy drunk" and a tune Pinetop Perkins, from Muddy Waters Band, taught me, "Come back Baby".

Feeling warmed up and noticing Ernie was nodding in his chair, and then a room full of people/patients and staff, had gathered to listen, I broke into my version of...you got it ...Summertime.

Now Ernie was fast asleep it appeard or wishing I'd stop with his eyes closed lol so contented looking with his oxygen hose resting comfortably in his nostrils....and as I hit the first few bars of summertime his eyes popped open and the oxygen hose popped out of his nose to his chin. He started to laugh and cough so hard I thought I was going to end it for him right then and there. He recovered nicely and we relived the earlier moments we played the song together. Laughing and talking music. He said I learned to play pretty good.

It was a great time. I visited a few more times and always called first to make sure my timing was proper.

Once I called and the front desk told me I had better call home as Ernie was sent to his house. Which usually means it would be his final days or weeks.

Now I am never good at this part of life. Never thinking I am close enough or well known enough by the family to come rushing in at such an intimate time.

So I waited for my call. It never came. A year went by and then I am faced with Marion having a great day finally recovering from his passing only to have me call and upset her. So I waited.

I searched the web for obituaries. I called the Music Union hall and they hadnt gotten a notice of death yet.

Finally after about another year I broke down and called the house. Marion answered and said "Ernie phone!". Now I naturally assumed (yes I know) that it would be Ernest JR. who moved from Colorado to help his Mother.

I was driving down 6th avenue south of the south bound on off ramp/street headed toward James street taking a left onto James when Ernie Sr. came to the phone. He said "hello" "where you been!?!?!" "why havent you called" I literally lost control of the wheel headed just for the huge round support post for the freeway overpass and regained control just in time.

"Where have I been, your dead, I dont call dead people!!!" He laughed and said "I'm not dead".
I arranged to come right over. I told him I had grieved him and didnt know whether to punch him right the kisser or hug him. He laughed and I had brought Marion flowers to brighten her day.

We spent a bit more time together.

Later, Marion went on to the care facility and Bryan had moved in with Ernie to help.

Bryan and I got to know each other better.

The talks Ernie and I would have were deep and heart felt the next few visits.

The last visit he went to use the bathroom on his own accord. Coming back he had to stop and rest in the first chair in the living room . staggering slightly to make a gentle landing in the chair.

I stayed put out of respect.

He regained composure and came and sat with me again.

We held hands like Father and Son. I said my thankyou 's my goodbye 's and told him I loved him.

We both knew this would be out last time together.

A few days later I was playing piano at my house. It was evening I dont remember the exact time. My piano was a small electronic on a stand. I was facing with my back to the wall looking outward to the room.

And all of a sudden appeared Ernie. Now this isnt that unusual for me as my mother did the same and my father tugged my chest when he passed.

Ernie came over, moved through the key board, sat in my body , and I had already begun playing ...summertime. He took over sitting inside of my form , and my hands played the most lovely version I could ever dreamed of. He finished , got up, walked through the piano , took a few steps (he had no pain or
difficulty) and turned and said "goodbye, I love you".

I called Bryan the next day to ask about his Ernie.
He told me he had passed. I had remembered the time of Ernies visit to me the day before. I asked Bryan if he would mind me asking the time of Ernies passing.
It was within 2 mintues of his visit to my place. As it should be.

Ernie was as much of a Father as my own and in many ways a Grandfather to me. someone I could tell anything to and did. Your family secrets of life and struggles will always rest silently in confidence as they were given, as I supported him in friendship too.

I have spoke to Bryan a few times since and left my card at the old house as the new folks said they see him from time to time. I have lost Bryans phone number as my cell got wet and destroyed my dialing catalogue.

I have always wanted a statue commissioned of Ernie playing the piano. To have it in the park by the house. So I could go sit and feed the pidgeons, watch traffic and maybe wonder why the hose wasnt put away.

Your Father was a great man. Stories of Ella and he.
Him seeing Billie Holiday, playing with Pearl Bailey, talk of the "Chitlin" circuit. Oh I miss him.

So today I commit to continuing to play piano in his honor. To take his gentle smooth style and add it to my personal playing style.

And to always mention that great man "Ernie Hatfield"
whenever I play Summertime.

As I write this I am thinking. I lost his latest tape of him playing when I lost my things in a storage unit. I would love to have that tape again if at all possible. Also the DVD Bryan gave me of his fathers arms that he made would be wonderful.

I would be happy to work with Bryan on transferring the video of Bulldogproduction over to CD so it could be added to the web page.

In deepest love and afftection,

Gary Brisky
Bulldog of Seattle/myspace.com
Makwe Nikekele/ Laughing Bear


We would like to thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. They are appreciated deeply.

God Bless.
Ernie Jr and Bryan Hatfield < >


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