1. Makin' Whoopee
2. What Is This Thing Called Love?
3. What's New
4. Like Someone In Love
5. Heart Of Winter
6. Blues In 9/4
8. When Sunny Gets Blue
9. Wonder Why
10. The Mood Is Mellow
11. Gone With The Wind
12. It Could Happen To You
George Shearing - Piano
Israel Crosby - Bass
Vernel Fournier - Drums
13. I Remember Clifford
14. Whisper Not
16. Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You
18. You Are There
19. Wait Till You See Her
20. Blue Lou
21. Oh! Look At Me Now
22. Lullaby of Birdland
George Shearing – Piano
Warren Chiasson – Vibes
Dick Garcia – Guitar
Wyatt Ruther – Bass
Lawrence Marable - Drums
23. Lila’s Theme
24. Fairy Tales
George Shearing Orchestra
George Shearing – Piano, leader
George Shearing was a good pianist (and accordionist) when he lived
in England but when he went to the USA, he seemed to mature before
our very eyes – or rather, our very ears. He invented that wondrous
quintet featuring piano, vibes and guitar. This made him a star but
he didn’t stop there. He continued to develop in ways which made him
a very special soloist and duettist, as well as good-humoured accompanist
to the likes of Mel Tormé.
On this album from June 1962, he was joined by bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier, who had made names for themselves in the preceding years
as part of Ahmad Jamal’s piano trio. They backed him up as effectively as they had accompanied Jamal, although I am somewhat disturbed to hear hints that
Crosby’s intonation doesn’t always sound perfect. This may be because he was already unwell (he died in August 1962, less than two months after this album
was made). Or it may be a fault in the recording. I really don’t understand it, as George says in the sleeve-note “He played bass parts that were so
beautiful, you could never write anything as good”.
As for drummer Vernel Fournier, his work with Ahmad Jamal showed what a masterly player he is, especially in a piano trio. George Shearing gives him more
solos and four-bar breaks than Jamal did, and Vernel creates some perfectly-judged contributions. At the start of What Is This Thing Called Love?
he even backs Shearing with the sort of drum pattern that made Ahmad Jamal’s Poinciana so special.
A track like Symphony displays Shearing’s maturity, with a light touch and a relaxed approach. It is a refined style and it swings calmly, while
sustaining notes to create a liquid quality in the playing. It Could Happen To You exhibits George’s affinity with classical music, using
arpeggios in the left hand against the melody in the right hand.
I love the way that this record company (Essential Jazz Classics) crams as many tracks as it can onto a CD. In this case you get nearly 75 minutes of
first-class music. Besides the dozen tracks from the original trio LP, the CD contains ten tracks by the Shearing Quintet and another two (the last two on
the disc) from a single featuring Shearing with an orchestra. The quintet tracks are in the easy, swinging style that made the original quintet so
successful. Lila’s Theme was written by Jerry Goldsmith for a film and is very unlike the Shearing we normally hear. But Fairy Tales uses
the quintet sound with an orchestral background.
Altogether, this album is a generous compilation of very listenable music.