Pianist George Shearing, whose vibes-guitar-piano-bass-drums quintet was one of the most popular in jazz throughout the '50s and '60s, seemed to have had a dual career while signed to Capitol. While his studio recordings often found his quintet augmented by strings, voices, brass, and/or Latin percussion in performances closer to mood music (or even Muzak) than jazz, his live engagements were definitely in the cool/bop vein…
Like 1994's Forest, George Winston's 1999 album Plains is inspired by the subtle beauty of America's landscapes. Pieces like "Dubuque" and "Muliwai" evoke regions as diverse as Montana's fields and Hawaiian shores, but Winston's distinctive piano stylings unite the songs into a cohesive vision. Though his interpretation of Sammy Cahn's "Teach Me Tonight" is unremarkable, his cover of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and originals like "Cloudburst," "The Swan," "Rainsong," and the title track showcase Winston's unique ability to transform nature into expressive piano pieces.
Verve Jazz Masters 57 presents an introduction to the recordings of George Shearing. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
"…I just asked the band what they'd like to play, and they said, 'Oh, let's play some "I'll Remember April", or let's play some "September in the Rain".' So we did , and (the latter) sold nine hundred thousand copies." So London-born George Shearing reminisces on his early US fame and fortune in Brian Priestley's liner note. Shearing had an almost uncanny knack for creating music both pleasing to the public and artistically satisfying - as can be heard in this compilation of his early Fifties MGM sessions, which includes many tracks never issued on CD.