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Shirley Horn: Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens

C. Michael Bailey By

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"Horn did ballads and cool, understated ruminations better than anyone except her first champion, mentor and lifelong friend, trumpeter Miles Davis. Both were masters of silence and anticipation, but even Davis teased Horn about her pacing. 'You do 'em awful slow!' he once said.'"

Richard Harrington, Washington Post.

The incandescence that was Shirley Horn, and her central importance to jazz vocals, cannot be overstated. She was a master, like Miles Davis and Ahmad Jamal, at retaining that elusive heartbeat called swing at the slowest tempos. Her ballad treatments may be traced, as a thread, through the approaches of Rebecca Parris, Patti Wicks, and Sue Sheriff. She was a musical force-of-nature, moving deliberately, thoughtfully, and soulfully forward.

Resonance Records, that upstart of hidden treasures helmed by Zev Feldman that unearthed the recently released Bill Evans -Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest e (2016), Thad Jones and Mel Lewis -All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Recordings at the Village Vanguard (2016), and Stan Getz -Moment in Time (2016) has now done the same with unreleased Shirley Horn with Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens.

Horn's discography is light on live recordings, making Live at the 4 Queens and immediately valuable addition to her recorded oeuvre. It is a spirited recital of nine tunes by Horn and her long-time rhythm section of bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams recorded live at Las Vegas' The 4 Queens Hotel, May 2, 1988. Horn was in excellent health and voice during this period, showing off her ballad prowess on "Lover Man," "You'd be So Nice to Come Home To," and "Just for a Thrill," the last being played just fast enough to retain the pulse of jazz. It is a masterful performance.

But Horn is also capable of picking up the pace and swinging for the fences, as she does on "The Boy from Ipanema" and a tour-de-force "Isn't It Romantic," where she displays her considerable piano skills. One can never hear enough of unheard Shirley Horn.

Track Listing: Hi-Fly; You’d Be Son Nice to Come Home To; Meditation; The Boy for Ipanema; Isn’t It Romantic; Lover Man; Something Happens to Me; Just for a Thrill; Blues for Big Scotia.

Personnel: Shirley Horn: vocals, piano; Charles Ables: bass; Steve Williams: drums.

Title: Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Resonance Records

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