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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast

Shirley Horn

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Album Review

The late pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn appeared on Marian McPartland's NPR-syndicated Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast in 1984, six years after she had begun recording and performing again after a lengthy hiatus. The material played here, as expected, is comprised of standards with the exception of a four-handed blues jam at the end of the program entitled "Shirley's Blues." There are a few surprises — in duet readings of "Billie's Bounce," and Billy Strayhorn's wonderful "Blood Count," as well as a flawed middle section of Don Redman's nugget "Cherry." Horn is in fine voice here, just top-form, really, as in "I Could Have Told You So," where her trademark ballad whisper can just send chills down the spine. The conversation here is lively and fun-filled as well. There is great warmth and humor between Horn and McPartland. As is the usual format of these discs, conversation appears on every other track, and the music takes up the great majority of the program. Thank goodness for CD players and their ability to skip and program tracks quickly, as the musical end of the program makes for especially fine listening.

Biography

Born: 01 May 1934 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A superior ballad singer and a talented pianist, Shirley Horn put off potential success until finally becoming a major attraction while in her fifties. She studied piano from the age of four. After attending Howard University, Horn put together her first trio in 1954, and was encouraged in the early '60s by Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. She recorded three albums during 1963-1965 for Mercury and ABC/Paramount, but chose to stick around Washington, D.C., and raise a family instead of pursuing her career....
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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast, Shirley Horn
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