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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Soft And Silky - George Shearing

Little White Lies
Soft And Silky
The George Shearing Quintet
Cover photo by Murray Laden
MGM High Fidelity
E 4042

The Shearing Quintet in fine form. The engineering is simple, as if a single mic might have been used to record the set. Sounds like you are sitting right next to Shearing while his quintet is playing a club date.

From the back cover: George Albert Shearing was born totally blind in London, England on August 13, 1919. Studying piano by the Braille method at the Linden Lodge School for the Blind, he developed a solid classical technique and a lasting affection for Bach and Debussy.

After graduating from Linden Lodge, he toured with a band of blind musicians, discovered jazz and settled into a solo piano career.

During the War, he was featured with the Ambrose Orchestra, starred on his own B.B.C. radio show and wrote arrangements for top English bands. He was voted Britain's outstanding pianist for seven straight years in polls conducted by the Melody Maker, a leading English music publication.

He paid America a brief professional visit in 1945 and two years later moved his wife and small daughter here to stay. His unique Bach-to-bop piano stylings were soon adding to the excitement on New York's 52nd Street.

In 1949, a quartet (composed of piano, clarinet, bass and drums) with which he had been working was approached to make records. At the last moment, it was discovered that a previous contractual agreement prevented the clarinetist from playing the record date. George quickly put together a new group, substituting vibraphone and electric guitar for the clarinet.

The group's first recording for MGM produced September In The Rain. It and the new "Shearing sound" were an overnight sensation. Nightclub, theater and concert offers poured in as the Quintet turned out hit after hit. The rest is history.

Over The Rainbow
Spring Is Here
For You
I'll Be Around
Don't Blame Me
The Continental (You Kiss While You're Dancing)
I'll Remember April
Little White Lies
I Remember You
My Silent Love
East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)

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