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George Shearing

Sir George Shearing

Pianist, Bandleader, Composer, Arranger

(1919 - 2011)

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George Shearing was the ninth child born to a poor family in England. Blind from birth, he attended school for the blind where he studied Braille music. His teacher said that his talent for improvisation precluded further study; however, later in life Shearing resumed Braille study and performed with several symphony orchestras. Shearing turned down university scholarships to earn a living playing piano in a pub, joining an all blind band in the ‘30s as accordionist. (In a press conference in the ‘80s Shearing defined a gentleman as “one who knows how to play the accordion but doesn’t.”)

Through friendship with jazz writer Leonard Feather, Shearing emigrated in 1947 and became a U.S. citizen in 1956. Shearing had listened to artists like Pinetop Smith, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Art Tatum, but harbored a fascination for the “locked hands” style of pianist/organist Milt Bruckner. In 1949 he recorded September in the Rain with a quintet: piano, vibraphone, guitar, bass and drums. It became an immediate hit and established the “Shearing Sound,” a style characterized by harmonized block chords on the piano an octave apart with the melody played in unison with vibes an octave higher and guitar an octave lower. Shearing admitted in a 1966 interview with Les Tompkins that commercial interests and public demand led to his perpetuating the “Shearing Sound” throughout the ‘50s,‘60s and ‘70s. But at the same time he was a forerunner in incorporating Afro-Cuban styles into small group settings, and he also recorded with several vocalists. By the 1980s he had switched to the Concord label where he played straight ahead jazz and won two Grammies for recordings with Mel Torme.

Of Shearing’s six compositions none attained the heights of 1952’s “Lullaby of Birdland” with lyricist George David Weiss. He has made almost 50 recordings as a leader and received honors in England and America too myriad to mention. In 2004 he published his autobiography, Lullaby of Birdland.

- Sandra Burlingame


Shearing Piano

George Shearing



Black & White Satin

George Shearing



That Shearing Sound

George Shearing



An Elegant Evening

George Shearing with Mel Torme



Lullaby of Birdland

Chris Connor



Lullabies of Birdland: A Musical Autobiography

George Shearing



Best of George Shearing: His Original Capitol Recordings

George Shearing



Nat King Cole Sings George Shearing Plays

Nat King Cole, George Shearing



Evening With George Shearing & Mel Torme

George Shearing, Mel Torme



Beauty & The Beat

Peggy Lee, George Shearing



Swingin's Mutual

Nancy Wilson, George Shearing



Definitive George Shearing

George Shearing
Reading and Viewing

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George Shearing, Alyn Shipton

Lullaby Of Birdland: The Autobiography Of George Shearing (Bayou Jazz Lives)

Continuum International Publishing Group


George Shearing

George Shearing Interpretations for Piano

Columbia Pictures Pubns


The Artistry of George Shearing

Alfred Publishing Company


Bobcats, George Shearing, The Slam Stewart Trio, Mel Torm, Slim Gaillard

Swing Era - George Shearing

Swing Era

DVD


George Shearing, Joe Williams

Joe Williams with George Shearing: A Song is Born

VIEW, Inc.

DVD


George Shearing

George Shearing: Lullaby of Birdland

VIEW, Inc.

DVD


George Shearing

George Shearing - Jazz Legend

Quantum Leap

DVD


George Shearing, Neil Swainson

Duo Featuring Neil Swainson

Geneon [Pioneer]

DVD


John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck

Swing Era - George Shearing

Idem

DVD


Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, George Shearing, Stan Kenton

Swing Era Jazz Amazon.com Giftset (featuring Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and more!)

Idem

DVD

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