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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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GEORGE SHEARING

Lullabies of Birdland

Musical Autobiography

Concorde Jazz CCD2-2211-2

 

 




CD1


1

September In The Rain

7


Too Late Now

2

Lullaby Of Birdland

8


Love For Sale

3

Mambo Inn

9


Alone Together

4

Darn That Dream

10


Emily

5

Heart And Soul

11


It Might As Well Be Spring

6

For Every Man There’s A Woman

12


I Cover The Waterfront



CD2


1

Easy To Love

7

Lullaby Of Birdland

2

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

8

Lonely Moments

3

Lullaby Of Birdland

9

Body And Soul

4

My Silent Love

10

Blue Monk

5

There Is No Greater Love

11

You’re My Everything

6

New York, New York - A Medley (with Mel Torme)

12

How Beautiful Is The Night

13

Fly Me To The Moon

Undoubtedly one of the most welcome volumes on jazz and popular music is the recently published ‘Lullabies of Birdland – A Musical Autobiography’ covering the life of British born blind pianist George Shearing. He gained worldwide recognition after moving to the USA in the mid-1940s. To accompany the book is this two CD set of the same name.

To set things off to an impressive yet nostalgic start the opening track is the Shearing Quintet’s 1949 version of ‘September In The Rain.’ It sold over a million copies. At the time it was recorded in New York, jazz fans in the UK had to rely on imported records to learn what was happening on the all- influencing American scene. For several years after the war there was a ban on the exchange of musicians between the two countries. The British ‘modern’ jazz scene was very much in its infancy so it was music produced by people such as Shearing that directed many potential jazz fans towards the acknowledged ‘modernists’ of the time. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie being two of the important forefathers. The quintet’s unique sound of course also appealed to a massive audience who were not jazz fans.

The pianist’s talents stretched far beyond his work with the quintet and in this compilation we are treated to some ‘gems.’ The duets with French horn player Barry Tuckwell on ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and with fellow pianist Hank Jones on ‘Lonely Moments’ are two highlights. Shearing is versatile and is at home performing solo just as he is when playing with other musicians.

As the press release states, ‘One of the most significant and critically acclaimed partnerships was with Mel Torme.’ In this instance we are treated to a ‘New York, New York Medley’ including the novel ‘For Me And My Gal,’ ‘Mack The Knife,’ ‘Birth Of The Blues,’ ‘Send A Little Love My Way,’ ‘How High The Moon’ and ‘New York, New York.’

There is also a ‘jam session’ version of ‘Blue Monk’ that includes established stars Kenny Davern, George Masso, Ken Peplowski and Warren Vaché.

‘Lullabies Of Birdland’ is a well produced albm and it will be warmly received not only by established Shearing fans but should also attract an army of new listeners to a man whose music has of late been somewhat ignored.

Jack Ashby



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