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Album Review

For a time in the early to mid-'70s, George Shearing ran his own record label, Sheba, with the help of his then-wife, Trixie, though it folded around the time of their divorce. While his output during this period was a bit uneven, ranging from strong mainstream releases to rather commercial sessions, this solo piano affair is one of his best from the era. "Taking a Chance on Love" has the air of the pianist's favorite composer, Delius, while he alters the bassline to Irving Berlin's "Change Partners" by substituting the one from Claude Thornhill's "Snowfall." Other surprises include the rather deliberate, lyrical setting of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" and the haunting rendition of "Beautiful Love." One inexcusable failure of this Koch CD reissue was the omission of composer credits; aside from that, Shearing fans will be very grateful to have access to this long unavailable album.


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 refined...
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