Monday, August 13, 2012

Music Monday ~ Sir George Shearing

Born 13 August 1919: pianist Sir George Shearing.

I remember hearing his recordings played often on the radio during my UK lifetime. When I noticed that today would have been his birthday (he died in February 2011) I casually asked Husband if he knew of Sir George's music, half expecting a shrug-off; instead Husband said that Shearing was one of his early jazz heroes. Surprise! Next thing: Husband staggering in from the garage with a stack of George Shearing LPs. I'd been gauging his reaction from Sir George's later recordings, which were distinctly "middle-of-the-road", my kind of stuff, but classy with it (him, not me!) Having investigated some of Shearing's earlier jazz piano I can see why husband would enjoy him.

From sleeve notes on the 1974 album "The Way We Are".
Sir George Shearing, OBE (born, London, England, August 13, 1919 - February 14, 2011) is an Anglo-American jazz pianist who for many years led a popular jazz group which recorded for MGM Records and Capitol Records. The composer of over 300 titles, he has had multiple albums on the Billboard charts during the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s.

Born in Battersea, London, Shearing was the youngest of nine children. He was born blind to working class parents: his father delivered coal and his mother cleaned trains in the evening. He started to learn piano at the age of three and began formal training at Linden Lodge School for the Blind, where he spent four years.

He became known for a piano technique known as Shearing's voicing, a type of double melody block chord, with an additional fifth part that doubles the melody an octave lower.
Shearing's interest in classical music resulted in some performances with concert orchestras in the 1950s and 1960s, and his solos frequently draw upon the music of Debussy and, particularly, Erik Satie for inspiration.

No birth time is known, so a 12 noon chart is shown.

Quadruple Leo (Sun, Mercury, Jupiter & Neptune): he was always going to make his mark on some stage, some genre, some sphere, somewhere.

The opposition of Saturn at 00 Virgo - Uranus at 00 Pisces is an interesting parallel to his two styles: Uranus (the avant garde) = his earlier heavily into jazz years, balanced by Saturn (traditional)representing the more easy-listening styles of his later recordings, probably made in response to public demand, jazz by then being more of a "fringe" area with limited album sales.

AQUARIUS (my favourite - of course!)

SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN ("one of his best", says Husband)


And...he sings: SEND IN THE CLOWNS


Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for this T, I have a feeling I saw him live once way back in the day (London?). Beautiful sound and his skill on the piano, wow!
I had an LP, long gone, but I must now investigate Itunes.

Twilight said...

Wiswebwoman ~~~ You're welcome WWW! :-)

anyjazz said...

The very first record I ever purchased was an MGM disc of "September In The Rain". It was 78rpm just to let you know how long ago it was.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ I remember 78s, and wind-up gramophones. ;-)

First record I ever bought (with my pocket money - saved up) was a Mario Lanza album 33 rpm....I still love his singing.