Thursday, February 17, 2011
George Shearing: Jazz Piano Legend: 1919-2011
SONGS I LOVE:
Gone! One of the greatest musicians, truly. I often listened to him in the 50s on the family radio and was the first time I heard Lullaby Of Birdland. The radio announcer (we call them DJs now) would always say, "Ladies and gentlemen, here's the George Shearing Quintet with, Lullaby Of Birdland." It could be from the BBC? Can't remember.
PARKER, ARMSTRONG, ELLINGTON:
It was one of the first few jazz standards I was introduced to, composed by Shearing himself in 1952. I later found out that the title referred to Charlie 'Bird' Parker, another jazz great who was together with Louis Armstrong and 'Duke' Ellington.
COLE, LEE, TORME:
Britisher Sir George Shearing, who was blind, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II lately. He was one of the best jazz pianist and concert performer having recorded over 300 songs. Legends who had appeared and recorded with him would include Nat King Cole (image), Miss Peggy Lee and Mel Torme.
UNIQUE SHEARING SOUND:
As a teenager he received only 3 years of formal training at a school for the blind. He was a natural and his musical education came from listening to Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson. He developed the special 'Shearing sound' characterised by the distinctive sound of the Glen Miller big band.
SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN:
Also recorded by Shearing, Russ Hamilton and so many others, September In The Rain (1937), is another personal favourite. His repertoire of songs would definitely have been played in the dance cabarets of the Great World, Happy (Gay) World and New World amusement parks in Singapore in the late 50s and 60s in Singapore.
Images: Google Search.
Original Article (Website/Newspaper Information): Andy Lim