Lullaby of Birdland: The Autobiography of George Shearing

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9780826460158: Lullaby of Birdland: The Autobiography of George Shearing

Pianist George Shearing is that rare thing, a European jazz musician who became a household name in the US, as a result of the "Shearing sound"―the recordings of his historic late 1940s quintet. Together with his unique "locked hands" approach to playing the piano, Shearing's quintet with guitar and vibraphone in close harmony to his own playing revolutionized small group jazz, and ensured that after seven years as Melody Maker's top British pianist, he achieved even greater success in America. His compositions have been recorded by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Miles Davis, and his best known pieces include "Lullaby of Birdland", "She" and "Conception". His story is all the more remarkable because Shearing was born blind. His candid reminiscences include a behind the scenes experience of New York's 52nd Street in its heyday, as well as memories of a vast roll-call of professional colleagues that includes all the great names in jazz.

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About the Author :

George Shearing is an internationally known jazz pianist. He is still active on the international stage and in late 1999 filled Carnegie Hall for a gala celebration of his 80th birthday. Alyn Shipton is a writer and broadcaster on jazz. Pianist George Shearing is that rare thing, a European jazz musician who became a household name in the US, as a result of the 'Shearing sound' - the recordings of his historic late 1940s quintet. Together with his unique 'locked hands' approach to playing the piano, Shearing's quintet with guitar and vibraphone in close harmony to his own playing revolutionised small group jazz, and ensured that after seven years as Melody Maker's top British pianist, he achieved even greater success in America. His compositions have been recorded by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Miles Davis, and his best known pieces include Lullaby of Birdland, She and Conception. His story is all the more remarkable because Shearing was born blind. As a teenager he joined Claude Bampton's band, and he recounts hilarious anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of this all blind group. By the start of the war years, Shearing was established as one of Britain's most popular and impressive jazz pianists - broadcasting regularly and playing and recording with Stephane Grappelli. In 1947 he emigrated to the US and started his landmark series of records with his quintet as well as performing classical pieces with several leading symphony orchestras. His candid reminiscences include a behind the scenes experience of New York's 52nd Street in its heyday, as well as memories of a vast roll-call of professional colleagues that includes all the great names in jazz.Alyn Shipton presents jazz radio programs for the BBC and is a critic for The Times in London. He is the author of several books on music, as well as a music publisher and editor. He divides his time between Oxford and the French countryside. In 2010, he was voted UK Jazz Broadcaster of the Year.

Review :

"Together they [Shearing and Shipton] have produced a book that is tightly edited and true to the voice of its subject. Suffused with warmth and good humor...this is recommended for larger jazz collections." -Library Journal

“Lullaby of Birdland, with all its pleasures, is to some extent the fruit of a collaboration between Shearing and the British jazz writer and broadcaster Alyn Shipton...Together they have produced a book which is well and tightly edited, which never bogs down in unnecessary detail or strays waywardly from the matters at hand, and in which Shearing consistently sounds like himself and not an edited version...The pages are suffused with warmth and good humor...” –January magazine, 03/04 (H.V. Cordry)

“Titled after Shearing’s most famous composition, this book is written with a punning sense of humor – a style that marks both Shearing’s private life and stage performances. He fills his books with tales of making music with some of the most important jazz artists of the 20th century. Shearing’s grace, charm, and humor are everywhere in this book, including the dust jacket photograph, which shows him looking into a mirror adjusting his tie. Highly recommended.” – Choice, 10/2004

“George Shearing, OBE, is such an institution that his 80th birthday was celebrated with a concert at Carnegie Hall. This year, perhaps preparing for his 85th birthday next month, he’s glanced over his life in a book that’s occasionally rueful but mostly high-spirited.” – The National Post, 7/6/04 (Robert Fulford)

“The fact that he could recall an ancient joke going back to the 1920s is an expression of his love of boyish word-play and his engaging personality, both of which come out in this autobiography, constructed with the knowledgeable aid of the author and broadcaster Alyn Shipton.” –matnew, August 2004

“He is also admirably frank about his personal ups and downs, and outspoken about the world of jazz. Anybody who has ever enjoyed Shearing’s music will also enjoy the story of the man behind it.” –Yorkshire Post Magazine, August 7, 2004

Recommended as a noteworthy title in the e-newsletter –ForeWord This Week, September 2004 (ForeWord Reviews)

Reviewed -Jazz Special (Scandinavia)

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George Shearing; Alyn Shipton
Edité par Bloomsbury Academic (2004)
ISBN 10 : 0826460151 ISBN 13 : 9780826460158
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George Shearing, Alyn Shipton
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of Birdland : The Autobiography of George Shearing
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