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July 2009

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Sir George Shearing Birthday

Jazz Piano Legend’, American Treasure Turns 90:

(Lee, MA, Aug. 13, 2009)---By all standards, Sir George Shearing is a music legend and on Thurs., Aug. 13, the original jazz icon turns 90 years-old.

Few of his musical generation remain and the music giants who were his collaborators, like Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole, to name a few, have all passed.

But, these days, Sir George, who calls home, at least for summer,  a bucolic farm in western Massachusetts, remains very much in tune with his musical roots and although he no longer actively performs (he retreated from public shows five years ago)  his presence, via “The George Shearing Sound,” on stages across the world, remains vital.

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December 2008

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Vanity Fair George Shearing

August 2008
george for george
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sir george shearingA Hearing of Shearing at the 92nd Street Y

A few years back, at a Piano Jazz concert at the 92nd Street Y, Bill Charlap played a particularly strong solo, one which so obviously thrilled the gentleman sitting next to me that he responded with delighted laughter and a strong cry of “Yeah!”

It was then that I noticed his thick South London accent and closed eyes (he wasn’t wearing his trademark Ray-Bans) and re-alized I was one seat away from George Shearing, a living legend of the jazz piano if ever there was one. His lifelong blindness aside, Mr. Shearing is regarded as a musical visionary by genera-tions of pianists including, as Mr. Charlap has pointed out, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock. While Mr. Shearing opted at that mo-ment to express his admiration for Mr. Charlap in a loud and forthright manner, on Wednesday Mr. Charlap honored the ongoing legacy of what he called “the George Shearing Sound” in a formal concert that served as the climax of the second week of the Y’s Jazz in July series.

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June 2007
bbc news
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sir george shearingJazz pianist collects knighthood
Veteran jazz pianist George Shearing has received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The 87-year-old musician, who was born blind, was accompanied by his wife Lady Eleanor and actress Lindy Alexander. "I enjoyed it very much and I am very excited about it," he told reporters
after his investiture.

One of the best known jazz pianists of the post-war era, he was made an OBE in 1996 and received a life achievement honour at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2003. Born the youngest of nine children to a coalman from south London in 1919, Sir George moved to the United States in 1947 and has lived in New York since 1978. Two years after he moved to the US he scored a huge hit with the record September In The Rain. Known for his unusual "locked hands" style of playing, Sir George has played for three US presidents as well as the Queen. He was still performing into his 80s but suffered a serious fall in 2004
that led to months of hospital and nursing home care.

June 2007
bbc news
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Jazz great who bridged Atlantic
George Shearing, who has been made a knight in the New Year Honours, was one the best known British jazz pianists of the post-war era.

george shearingBorn in London in 1919, he overcame blindness to learn the piano with only limited tuition and a devotion to jazz records and then played hotel bars. He found success with bands and performing on the BBC before moving to America and playing with jazz greats. He was still performing into his 80s but suffered a serious fall in 2004. Playing with the likes of Harry Parry's popular band and Stephane Grappelli's groups of the 1940s brought him fame in England and he topped several Melody Maker polls.

Global demand
George Shearing was made an OBE in 1996
george shearingBut it was his move to America in 1946, where he subsequently became a naturalised citizen, that cemented his place in the jazz world. Shearing, along with countrymen Victor Feldman, Eddie Thompson and Dill Jones, became accepted as equals by their American colleagues. He is known for his unusual "locked hands" style of playing and was traditionally accompanied by guitar, bass, drums and vibraphone. He worked in New York and his song about one of the more famous clubs, Lullaby of Birdland, become his signature song and a jazz standard.

Although respected by mainstream jazz musicians, an international hit in 1949 with his cover of September in the Rain led him away from pure jazz to more popular success. In the pre-rock and roll days of popular music, Shearing was one of the best known artists and was in global demand.

Lifetime achievement
He built a reputation for melodic and accessible improvisations and despite a quiet period in the 1970s never lost his core following. He has collaborated with singers such as Peggy Lee, Ernestine Anderson and Carmen McRae, and an album made with singer Mel Torme won a Grammy Award in 1982. He was made an OBE in 1996 and received the lifetime achievement honour at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2003.

A fall at his Manhattan home in March 2004 led to seven months of hospital and nursing home care, but he has since returned to his family.

Speaking from New York, he said he was honoured to be made a knight "for something I absolutely love doing".

"Receiving such an honour as a knighthood might also show young people what can be achieved in life if one learns his craft and follows his dreams. My mind keeps flashing on my beginnings as a pianist playing in a pub for the equivalent of 5 dollars a week," he added. "What a journey it has been from that pub to Buckingham Palace."

April 2007

George Shearing will be traveling to London in June to receive his Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.  After the ceremony, he and Lady Shearing will host a luncheon for some of their closest friends including Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, the BBC personality and interviewer Michael Parkinson and actress Julia McKenzie.  He is also looking forward to seeing some of his immediate family and other relatives.

George is a bit overwhelmed with the outpouring of good wishes and congratulations from people all over the world.....people he has never met.  He was especially struck by a note sent to him by the Rector Emeritus of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, where he is a member.  It said, " I am thrilled that the Queen wants to give you her official gift of the honor of Knighthood.  These things are very precious and it is only right that your work and worth receive this recognition......and all of us are the beneficiaries, proud and pleased for you."

December 2006

George Shearing, legendary jazz pianist and composer, has been included in the list of New Year Honours in London.  He is to have the honour of Knighthood conferred upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

When asked his reaction to this news, he said that receiving this honour defies comprehension.  "My mind keeps flashing on my beginnings as pianist playing in a pub for the equivalent of $5.00 a week.  What a journey it has been from that pub to Buckingham Palace."

He said that is was also amazing that he was to receive this honour for something that he absolutely loved doing.  "Receiving such an honour as a Knighthood might also show young people what can be achieved in life if one learns his craft and follows his dreams."

A poor, blind kid from Battersea named George Shearing, the youngest of nine, with four years of formal musical training but with tremendous will to make good is to become sir George Shearing...... now that's a fairy tale come true.

August 2006

George’s Birthday on August 13th was an absolute smash! He and Ellie went to a concert at  Tanglewood and returned home for one of her elegantly  sumptuous dinners served on the terrace at The Farm.  They   spent the evening surrounded by a crew of friends including  (his bassist) Neil Swainson and family, Dennis Mackrel, (his  drummer) and family.  Well, you know all that talent under one roof had to end in a jazz collaboration…and it did!   To the delight of everyone present, George  played masterfully and with great glee.

As the festivities continued the next day everyone was amazed at how proficient George is becoming with his cane.  A wonderful celebration was enjoyed by all.  Many more years, George!  Many more!

March 2006

A big thank you all for the kind notes of encouragement! They are much appreciated. George is progressing very well. He recently attended a concert of Dick Hyman's at the 92nd Street Y where he was greeted with resounding applause! It was a complete evening of entertainment and enjoyment out and about in New York.

November 2, 2005

Mr. Shearing is doing very well. He is playing the piano at home daily. He does have a recent CD release with Michael Feinstein entitled HOPELESS ROMANTICS on Concord.

March 8 , 2005

George Shearing is making strides today! He is walking, playing piano, enjoying visits from friends as well as appreciating the delicious home cooked meals prepared by his wife, Ellie..

February 7 , 2005

Mr. Shearing is recovering at home, enjoying the home cooked meals and playing his piano on a regular basis. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support!

March 23, 2004

Jazz Review

November 10, 2004

After 7 months and 17 days spent in hospitals and nursing homes, Mr. George Shearing is pleased to announce that he's back home and lapping up familiar ambience and Ellie's home cooking. Let's hear it for Himself........Hip, Hip.....
Editor's note:   YAHOO!

November 3, 2004

After 7 months George will be going home early next week to familiar comfortable surroundings. At home he will be working with physical therapists for further recovery.

April 19 , 2004

George is progressing well each day. He does remain in intensive care, but is responding well. He is listening to music and communicating to staff and his wife Ellie. Prognosis is good.

March 24, 2004

George Shearing remains hospitalized, but is resting comfortably and is in stable condition after sustaining a fall in his New York apartment earlier this week. Additional testing will take place today. Preliminary results are expected tomorrow.

March 23, 2004

Mr. George Shearing, 84, jazz piano icon, has been admitted to a New York City hospital after a fall sustained in his home last night. He is currently under observation.

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