Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Shirley Horn Live at the Four Queens

Shirley Horn
Live at the Four Queens
Resonance Records

Following up recent recordings by Larry Young, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and Stan Getz-Joao Gilberto, the non-profit Resonance Records has just issued Shirley Horn "Live at the Four Queens," recorded by KNPR on the night of May 2, 1988 at a lounge in that Las Vegas casino and hotel. She was accompanied that night by her regular trio of bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams.

Over a decade after she passed away, these recordings are wonderfully restored and capture the elegance and the spirited musicianship of this great lady. There are a couple of terrific instrumentals, Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly," that opens this program, and the Rodgers and Hart classic "Isn't It Romantic," that make it clear that she would have been remembered even if she never sang a note, but when she interprets "You'd Be So Nice To Come To," one feels the magic her singing has that led to such great artists as Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis adoring her.

There are so many treasures including a couple of Jobim penned gems, "Meditation," taken as slow a tempo as possible followed by her playful "The Boy From Ipanema." There is a stunning "Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?). The nuances of her singing might lead to comparisons with Billie Holiday. However she does not imitate Lady Day. Instead, like Holiday,she has a rare ability to move a listener while employing a narrow vocal range.

Along with Ms. Horn's wondrous performances, the CD comes with a 56 page booklet with reminiscences of her along with background on her career and these performances, recollections of Richard Seidel, who produced her for Verve and Steve Williams discussing his time playing with her, vocalist Sheila Jordan's memories about her friend as well as the recollections of Shirley Horn's Washington by her friend and neighbor, Washington DC radio personality Rusty Hassan. This booklet is also available as a pdf file for those purchasing this as a download on iTunes. This booklet is part of the packaging that adds to the many pleasures of Shirley Horn's music on this excellent release.

I purchased this. Here is Shirley Horn performing.

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