Imagine coming across a tape, languishing in a drawer, by a giant of jazz. Unheard for more than three decades. Too unknown even to be properly forgotten.
Bassist Don Thompson made such a discovery.
And now At Home, a lost recording George Shearing and the ex-Paul Desmond sideman made together in Shearing’s New York apartment, emerges at last.
Shearing’s widow the former-singer Ellie Shearing is issuing the album on a new label called JazzKnight on 15 April.
Interest in Sir George is at a high at the moment two years since the great Battersea man’s passing with the launch of The Shearing Hour, an early evening piano hour at the Pizza Express Jazz Club.
There’s also a strong indication that Universal will step into the fray some time after May to reissue tracks from the storied Capitol years, languishing in the recently acquired EMI vaults.
Canadian Thompson, a musical partner of Shearing’s on such albums as Live at the Cafe Carlyle, played the January 1983 created tape to Ellie Shearing after a memorial concert in Toronto.
Lady Shearing says she liked what she heard. “I brought it back to New York," she says in publicity material, “and took it to Jim Czak, who is the chief engineer of his own recording studio. I wanted to hear this CD on the big speakers in his studio. Mike Renzi [a late-period Peggy Lee accompanist], a fabulous jazz pianist in his own right, also came by. Well, we sat listening to the entire recording without saying a word. When the last note had died away, there was silence. Jim spoke first. ‘Ellie, I couldn’t have recorded this better here in the studio.’ Mike then added: ‘This has got to be heard’."
Look out for more on At Home, which features duo tracks and four solo numbers, later in the week on Marlbank. Tracks are thought to include ‘I Cover the Waterfront’, ‘Can’t We Be Friends’, ‘Laura’, and ‘Beautiful Love’. MB
An earlier version of ‘Laura’ performed by George Shearing to listen to for now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF72hjbPO2A and a version of ‘Beautiful Love’ also previously issued: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz9njOgKBYU
George Shearing, top