Friday, 2 September 2016

George Shearing - The Shearing Piano (1957)

Some wonderfully mellow jazz piano for your weekend.  Well, jazz with a generous dollop of classical, but this is no corny crossover - it's a seamless blend of songbook standards (for the most part avoiding the usual ones you'd expect) and tasteful quotations of little bits of Rachmaninov, Satie, Mozart and Poulenc.

George Shearing (1919-2011) was born in London, and didn't let lifelong blindness get in the way of him setting up home in the US as an acclaimed quintet leader.  This is one of his rare (at least for this period in his career) solo recordings, and from a superb meditation on Stella By Starlight onwards, it's unique, exquisite stuff indeed.

I did mention early on in this blog that I tend to shave off bonus tracks, preferring to focus on just the original album; no chance of that happening here.  The ten tracks on The Shearing Piano are followed on CD by another ten that are every bit as good, and end with one purely classical piece in Debussy's Reverie - far from being a bunch of outtakes just for the sake of it, it's effectively The Shearing Piano Volume 2.  That's what I call good value.

The Shearing Piano

3 comments:

  1. I stumbled across a used copy of this album at a Goodwill thrift store a few years ago. I wasn't expecting much given the light cocktail bar quality of previous records I'd heard from his quintet, but I wound up being spellbound by the depth and beauty of Shearing's work here. Many thanks for this post. It will be a better weekend because of this!

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  2. Thanks - looking forward to hearing this.

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  3. Yes - thanks Alan - much appreciated!! Looking forward to hearing this as well!

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