George Shearing was a prolific musical talent composing literally dozens of songs. Two cuts from Shearing below, most folks would probably reference his classic “Lullaby of Birdland”, – but I’ve chosen a piece that really shows his artistry, “Conception”, done with the George Shearing Qintet — and a second from a joint album with Nat King Cole. George Shearing played with many of the greats from Cal Tjader and Toots Thielman (On the original Birdland piece), to Billy Taylor, and of course as musical accompaniment to some of the great jazz singers. Check out how light Shearing’s fingers are dancing across the ivories in the “Conception” video. Pure genius.
George Shearing, the prolific pianist and composer who penned ‘Lullaby of Birdland,’ died Monday at 91 in New York City. The case of death was heart failure, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Shearing was born in London in 1919 and was blind from birth. He began playing the piano almost as soon as he could stand, and when he entered a school for the blind as a teen, he studied everything from Mozart to Glenn Miller. He began playing professionally at 16 at a local bar and just four years later his career took off when he met the pianist and music writer Leonard Feather. Read the rest of this entry »