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Verve Jazz Masters 57: George Shearing

George Shearing

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The blind British-born pianist George Shearing, who died in 2011, had an illustrious career that began in the 1930s. His light, elegant sound had broad appeal and this collection, which gathers tracks from the 1950s, serves as an excellent introduction to his work. His signature at the time was marked by a front line of piano, vibes, and guitar, combining to play a melody before individual players would spin out succinct solos. A number of backing musicians appear on these recordings, including the vibraphonists Marjorie Hyams and Cal Tjader, guitarist Chuck Wayne, and drummer Denzil Best. Shearing’s most famous tune, the jaunty “Lullaby of Birdland,” appears here in classic form. Shearing’s taste for a Latin groove is displayed on “Mambo Inn,” which features the driving percussion of Armando Peraza. “I Wished on the Moon” affords the listener the chance to hear the pianist and his band accompany Teddi King’s vocals, while “Lonely Moments” nods to classical music. One of the most striking tracks is a version of “Summertime.” This soulful, inventive take on the well-worn standard brings it to life.

Biography

Born: August 13, 1919 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

For a long stretch of time in the 1950s and early '60s, George Shearing had one of the most popular jazz combos on the planet — so much so that, in the usual jazz tradition of distrusting popular success, he tended to be underappreciated. Shearing's main claim to fame was the invention of a unique quintet sound, derived from a combination of piano, vibraphone, electric guitar, bass, and drums. Within this context, Shearing would play in a style he called "locked hands," which he picked up and...
Full Bio
Verve Jazz Masters 57: George Shearing, George Shearing
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop, Hard Bop
  • Released: May 21, 1996

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