13 jazz sides from the blind pianist who recorded these beautiful solos and instrumentals while in his seventies! Includes a mesmerizing cover of Dave Brubeck's Summer Song plus Straighten Up and Fly Right; Oh, Lady Be Good; Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You; Wail; How Beautiful is Night; Conception; Peace , and more.
Consider this a Whitman's Sampler of mellow, urbane bonbons from the septuagenarian George Shearing of the 1990s. Culled from seven of the pianist's Telarc discs of the decade, it contains a bit of the cocktail bop that made him a pat but popular stylist during previous decades. There are two gauzy tracks with The Robert Farnon Orchestra and a couple of others with a quintet that emphasize the blocked chords and unison lines with guitar and vibes that fans will recognize. A pair of Nat King Cole
covers, a Christmas carol, and a solo rendition of Dave Brubeck
's "Summer Song" perhaps cater too much to "easy listening." But there's also a wonderfully inventive solo take on the chestnut "My Favorite Things," and, best of all, four agile bop tunes recorded live in 1992 at the Blue Note with drummer Grady Tate and bassist Neil Swainson. It's a kick to hear Shearing negotiate the fleet rhythms of Charlie Parker
's "Birdfeathers" and take on the occasionally thorny "Subconscious Lee" (by Lee Konitz
, a disciple of another block-chording pianist, Lennie Tristano
). Those who long ago dismissed Shearing as a stuffed shirt should note these and other tricks he's got up his sleeve. --Britt Robson