No jazz singer ever sang as softly and slowly and with such subtle command as Shirley Horn. Her voice often just above a whisper, she forced audiences to hush up and pay attention as she delivered lyrics without flash or pretense, but with a knowing sense of life lived and dues paid.Three years to the month of her passing in 2005, it’s a gift for Horn’s devotees to have a chance to hear this collection ... read more
An appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio broadcast often sheds light on unexplored aspects of an artist's career as the host conducts her intrepid, conversational interviews. Here, we have both illuminating conversation and Shirley Horn's musical essence: heartfelt ballad singing at crawling tempos, spot-on piano accompaniment, and deep-in-the-keys swing. Unless she knew you well, Horn could be a reluctant conversationalist. In this setting, though, she sheds some light on her career and musical philosophy, saying that ...read more
Shirley Horn is a jazz diva who needs little introduction. This veteran of song is one of the classic vocalists of any era. But Beautiful gives us some classic recordings that highlight her career, as well as three bonus tracks recorded from a recent performance at the Au Bar in New York City. The first eleven tracks are from Horn's Verve Records catalogue, including I Thought About You and Loads of Love: Shirley Horn with Horns, which was originally released ...read more
Dear Shirley Horn was laid to rest on November 3, 2005. A distinctive, emotional singer as well as brilliant pianist, Horn crafted an instantly recognizable style and a body of work that was often moving beyond words. While she's hailed far and wide as one of the finest ballads singers ever, this accolade alone misses the point. Horn was a complete musician. Few could swing harder, dig deeper, mine the blues so truly and, of course, live ...read more
It's 10pm on a Monday evening and I find myself anxiously dialing the front desk of a local hotel to talk to one of the true legends of jazz, Shirley Horn. I have to admit that I am more than just a bit nervous. First, it's Shirley Horn and second, it's ten o'clock. My friend, flutist Kent Jordan has arranged for me to conduct this interview, but I'm still worried that it is a bit late. He assured me that ...read more
Scullers Boston, MA June 11, 2004
When Shirley Horn is deep in the groove, it is clear that she is getting used to – and in fact downright enjoying – the singular art of singing, even though the hyphenated role of singer-pianist had been her musical forte for all but this twilight of her stellar career.
Due to medical circumstances, Horn leaves the piano work to others for the most part, yet the groove was there ...read more
It's always a thrill when Shirley Horn releases a new album. She's the kind of living legend that you would and should make every effort to see perform live. Imagine being a jazz fan when Louis Armstrong was alive and touring.Horn has said in interviews that she tries to paint a picture in her songs. Her jazz is a water-color painting of flowing brushstrokes. She stylizes her arrangements with long, lazy notes and rests and ... read more
Although there have been some great Miles tribute albums over the past few years, from the exquisite So Near, So Far" by Joe Henderson to the incendiary Yo Miles" by Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith, these two loving vocal tributes are in a class by themselves. And if you're not a big fan of vocal jazz (like myself) these two albums could just change your mind forever.
Shirley Horn, an old friend of Miles, takes the more conventional path ...read more