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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn Trio: Live At the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival

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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 of previously unreleased material. Live at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival captures Horn during a high point in her career, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn: Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

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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 the “good music her parents played at home (notably, Billie Holiday and Count Basie) deeply influenced her. At four, she ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn: But Beautiful: The Best of Shirley Horn

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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 on Mercury Records. Horn became a singer by accident. While performing as a pianist in a restaurant/nightclub, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn: But Beautiful: The Best of Shirley Horn

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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 a lyric so soulfully. For each of the slow-crawl ballads, subtly pulsing no matter how leisurely the gait, she would ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Shirley Horn: No Regrets

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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 Ms. Horn is a late person and when she answers the phone the distinctive blend of recorded opera and live ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Shirley Horn at Scullers

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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 when she opened a two-night run at Scullers in Boston on June 15. Her trio was solid, sometimes even propelling ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn: You're My Thrill

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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 wanders through the path at her own speed. As if, perhaps, she's savoring it.

The piece de resistance ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn & Cassandra Wilson: I Remember Miles & Traveling Miles

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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 with three songs from “Porgy and Bess" and another three from “Seven Steps to Heaven" (songs which, by the way, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shirley Horn: I Remember Miles

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A Labor of Love. Shirley Horn's 1991's You Won't Forget Me was one of the last recordings Miles Davis made. More significant was the broken promise that Miles had made a number of years previous that he would not return to the standards. A gratefully broken promise. He appeared on the title piece, a titan straddling the whole of jazz.

Shirley Horn opened for Miles at the Village Vanguard after Miles had heard her first recording, Embers and Ashes. He strong-armed a reluctant Max Gordon into the arrangement by telling him, “If you don't take her, you don't get me." ...



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