Hailing from London, George Shearing has been making music for the past six decades. He has been on hand for the development of Jazz since Be Bop. He penned the standard "Lullaby of Birdland" as well as the oft-cited "Conception. Presently are two Koch Jazz re-releases of two dates Shearing had with self-founded Sheba Records in the early 1970s. The Heart and Soul of Joe Williams was actually released later than Out Of This World. Hitting the streets in 1971, The Heart and Soul... has been a bit hard to find as of late but has now been restored to its previous glory. It is a splendid concept recording with songs containing the words "Heart" and "Soul." Most striking is getting to hear Joe Williams outside of a blues context. He was a fine ballad and torch singer. "Heart and Soul" absolutely swings while "My Foolish Heart" has a bit of Latin whimsy. "Blues in My Heart" captures Williams in his most familiar territory. Shearing's accompaniment is tasteful (could it be anyway else?). The Three Sound's Andy Simpkins on bass and the Crusaders's Stix Hooper on drums complete the rhythm section.
Out of this World
is a splendid solo offering by Shearing that, as a collection, sounds more like Chopin's Nocturnes than jazz. Shearing's touch is extra light and his grace notes well chosen. The title song is light and airy as is the Beatles's "Hey Jude." "Let it Snow" is blissfully seasonal and "How do You Say 'Auf Wiedersehn'" is simply beautiful. George Shearing, like Oscar Peterson, has had a long and uncontroversial career. On one hand this might make a biography a bit boring, but on the other hand they are still here to continue making music well into advanced age. Like Cal Ripkin, Jr., George Shearing showed up to play and played and played and played and played. He has recorded prolifically and always at a very high level. I say "Bravo" to such a successful work ethic and career and wish Mr. Shearing many more recordings.
The Heart And Soul Of Joe Williams And George Shearing:Heart And Soul; Nobody's Heart; Humpty Dumpty Heart; My Heart Stood Still; My Heart And I; Blues In My Heart; Sleep My Heart; My Foolish Heart; My Heart Tells Me; Young At Heart; I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart (Total Time: 31:26).
Out Of This World:Out Of This World; Wendy; Hey Jude; Funny Sunny; Serenade In Blue; Here, There And Everywhere; Such A Fool; Out Of Nowhere; You're My Everything; The Road To Nowhere, Let It Snow; How Do You Say "Auf Wiedersehn?" (Total Time: 38:49).
The Heart And Soul Of Joe Williams And George Shearing:Joe Williams: Vocals; George Shearing: Piano; Andy Simpkins: Bass; Stix Hooper: Drums.
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