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An Elegant Evening

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Album Review

This collaboration by pianist George Shearing and vocalist Mel Torme differs from most of their others in that the performances are duets (rather than with bass and occasional drums) and the repertoire sticks exclusively to ballads. With the exception of the closing "You're Driving Me Crazy" (which is taken at a medium bounce), all of the tunes are performed at slow tempos. The lack of variety and the use of some songs from outside of jazz (including "Last Night When We Were Young" and "Brigg Fair") lower the value of this CD to jazz listeners, who are advised to get the other Torme-Shearing sets first, but Shearing does play well, and Torme displays some beautiful long tones.


Born: 13 August 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 refined...
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