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But Beautiful: The Best Of Shirley Horn

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews

Miles Davis and Quincy Jones discovered Shirley in the '60s-then, jazz lovers rediscovered her when she signed with Verve in the '80s. The Verve sessions by the late singer/pianist account for 10 of these tracks, and a 1963 Mercury recording and a live 2005 performance account for four; she does If You Love Me; Fever; But Beautiful; Nice 'n' Easy; Here's to Life; Loads of Love , and more!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000ASATOO
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,629 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Shirley Horn Store

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By Giuseppe C. HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Throughout their careers most singers will undergo changes--often dramatic and undeniable--in vocal timbre, range, breath support, articulation. Shirley Horn, on the other hand, is so remarkably consistent from her first recorded work in 1960 to her last in 2003 that a listener might be tempted to simply select a recording on the basis of song selection or go with a sampler such as this. On the other hand, the recording sessions reveal differences in programming, orchestrations, and performance that may make either of these options less than satisfactory.

Shirley's vocal expressiveness and interpretive powers reach their peak in the early 1990's, at the time of the release of "Here's to Life" (an album which professional singers, in a recent Downbeat Magazine poll, ranked as best jazz vocal recording since 1965). The present anthology contains three selections from "Here's to Life," including the indispensable "If You Love Me." But who wants less than 25% of the program from a recording that is at once a transcendent, aesthetic whole and an historic "event"?

If you wish to hear Shirley and trio unaccompanied by Johnny Mandell's sympathetic orchestrations, you couldn't go wrong with Shirley's stellar "Close Enough for Love." But aside from "But Beautiful" the present collection ignores it. Or if your preference is a live set, "I Thought About You" is the one. The anthology offers two tracks from this date but bypasses a rare Horn instrumental--Shirley's grooving, extended piano work on "Isn't It Romantic."

To its credit this collection doesn't draw from Shirley's last two albums, both of which strike me as frequently more languorous than poignant, though it does offer 3 "bonus" tracks recorded in 2005. Still, the money spent on this anthology might better serve as down-payment on several of Shirley's recordings that are of a complete and organic whole.
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Format: Audio CD
The Los Angeles Times once described Shirley Horn as "the preeminent jazz vocalist of her time...an incomparable original." Indeed, she was! And she truly made a mark and left a lasting impression in the music world with her distinctive voice, inimitable style of delivering songs, and her flair at piano playing.

This compilation album, "But Beautiful: The Best of Shirley Horn," represents some of her best recordings from Verve Records plus three previously unreleased live bonus tracks that she recorded at Au Bar in New York City in January of 2005 with Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Ed Howard on bass, Steve Williams on drums, Buck Hill on saxophone and George Mesterhazy on guitar.

"A Time For Love," "Here's To Life" and "If You Love Me" are three of her recognizable songs that were taken from her most sublime album titled "Here's To Life." Johnny Mandel's exquisite arrangements and lush orchestrations added an element of timeless quality and ethereal appeal to Shirley Horn's renditions making this trio of songs the album's high points of interest. The brilliant arranger has brought out the very best in Shirley Horn who stamped her signature on these songs and made them her very own. No one has ever interpreted such songs with so much sentiment and authority than the extraordinary singer herself. She was a rare talent, a consummate jazz singer who also played the piano in an absolutely beautiful technique.

This collection is a veritable testament of Shirley Horn's love and dedication to her craft and it certainly show in each note of every song. Her music, particularly the recordings that she collaborated with Johnny Mandel, has lasting appeal to one's ears. So if you're a true-blue fan of Shirley Horn or simply a dedicated listener of vocal jazz, you should not miss out on this superb compilation album. Give it a special spot in your music library. I can guarantee a very enjoyable listen from start to finish.
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By wrenhunter on December 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An excellent collection by a supremely gifted singer. "You Don't Know Me" and "I Just Found Out About Love" are particular gems. I am buying a second copy as a gift, it's that good.
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Format: Audio CD
Miss Shirley deserves 5 stars for EVERY CD she's released, but like labelmate, Abbey Lincoln, where's SHIRLEY'S boxed set? Shirley was a trend setter from the get-go and for her contribution to Jazz, I feel she is owed a boxed set complete with a beautiful booklet, some recipes (as on the inside of her "The Main Ingredient" CD) and maybe even a bonus CD of live performances. Verve, are you listening? This woman's work garnered two Grammy Awards ("Here's To Life" and "I Remember Miles") while under contract to the label. There are far more better moments career-wise than what is compiled HERE. May my girl R.I.P. and may God bless her mother, husband, daughter, granchildren, friends and fans. :-)
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The best of is a bit much because Shirley Horn has a deep bench and wide range of vocal talent. Example is Miles Davis on horn on "You won't forget Me" if you ever been in love, this is a anthem, it just weaves around and recalls past moments of your first, present or last love. This CD swings, hums, cries and shouts, 14 tracks of just good listening, thinking and lov'n take a moment or hell a day and enjoy.
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By Beynongirl on December 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shirley Horn is just great. This CD is one of her best. I am pleased with the service. There were no problems.
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