Jazz Pianist George Shearing Dies at 91

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jazz pianist George Shearing, whose hits included "Lullaby of Birdland" and "September in the Rain," has died of heart failure in Manhattan. He was 91, according to The Associated Press.

Shearing achieved fame with his group the George Shearing Quintet in the late 1940s, and also became a successful solo artist in a career that spanned decades, according to the AP.

He also overcame personal disabilities: Shearing was born blind. He released an autobiography, "Lullaby of Birdland," in 2005.

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Comments [7]

Camy Valente

Sheering in my opinion, was the finest bind musician thatI ever heard. He was, in everyword and gendre, a true, well trained musician

Feb. 20 2011 08:56 AM
Michael Maino

"After Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat, Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. 'God's empty chair,' he said."

-from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Feb. 19 2011 02:37 PM
Michael Meltzer

Ms. Anderson-Broecking:
In 1958, you would have seen me working nights in the Embers coatroom (Daytime was for practicing). Another lifetime!

Feb. 18 2011 12:50 AM
Arden Anderson-Broecking from Connecticut

Dearly beloved George Shearing!
My friends and I used to hang out at a little club called "The Embers" near our school to hear him. I am sorry he is gone, but what wonderful music hegave us and what a courageous beautful life he lived!

Feb. 17 2011 03:24 PM
Michael Meltzer

Out of respect, perhaps this news item should be posted by WQXR for a least one week. George Shearing was a great man.

Feb. 16 2011 03:35 PM
Gev Sweeney

Ah ... George Shearing. I will never forget that cold morning I hurried through the Gramercy Park district and heard a somewhat familiar voice say, "I'm so sorry to keep you waiting!"

It was Mr. Shearing ... apologizing to a chauffeur. To this day, more than 25 years later, he remains the only person I've heard apologize to a lowly driver.

Feb. 15 2011 08:35 AM
Michael Meltzer

He was an amazing talent and a complete original. I've commented before on how few classical pianists sound like true polyphonic thinkers of the likes of Glenn Gould, Roslyn Tureck and Edward Aldwell. George Shearing (as well as Dave Brubeck) had that mentality. He would improvise good counterpoint, that really sounded like two people doing joint solos.
You wonder what has happened to the wide variety of jazz piano styles we had in the 1950's, when Shearing, Brubeck, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner, Horace Silver, Thelonius Monk were all drawing crowds and were as different from each other as night and day.

Feb. 15 2011 07:10 AM

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