“Lullaby of Birdland” and “September In The Rain” are the most classic enduring George Shearing compositions which not only captured admiring attention when first performed but also remain up to date 21st century jazz classics.
Born in Battersea and playing piano on the London scene, making waves as the pianist with violinist Stephane Grappelli, he emigrated to the USA where in 1949 he formed the first George Shearing Quintet.
His harmonically complex style mixing swing, bop and modern classical influences gained popularity. He became known for a piano technique known as "The Shearing Sound", a type of double melody block chord, with an additional fifth part that doubles the melody an octave lower. With the piano playing these five voices; his band Back to Birdland, Shearing would double the top voice with the vibraphone and the bottom voice with the guitar to create his signature sound. This most notable innovation built a new sound in jazz that changed the way small ensembles performed.
To give voice to this wonderful music, with their own interpretations and improvisations, we welcome the Simon Brown Quintet with vocalist Andi Hopgood. Featuring Simon Brown with his lucid piano style and Multi awarded Roger Beaujolais on Vibraphone, with Simon Hurley on guitar, audiences are guaranteed an evening of stylish memorable jazz evoking all the spirit of Britain’s best ever jazz export George Shearing.
In his later years Shearing returned to the UK touring and giving concerts, backed by the BBC Big Band. He was appointed OBE in 1996 and in 2007 he was knighted. He noted later, "the poor, blind kid from Battersea became Sir George Shearing. Now that's a fairy tale come true."
Here’s George Shearing in his later life still playing “Lullaby of Birdland” - wonderfully
Roger Beaujolais (vibes)
Simon Brown (piano)
Simon Hurley (guitar)
Andy Staples (bass)
Alex Best (drums)
and featuring vocalist Andi Hopgood.
Doors at 6.30pm
Music at 8pm.
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