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George Shearing passed away today.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postmortem/2011/02/george-shearing-dies-pianist-c.html

In the words of Jack Kerouac:

Dean and I went to see Shearing at Birdland in the midst of the long, mad weekend. The place was deserted, we were the first customers, ten o'clock. Shearing came out, blind, led by the hand to his keyboard. He was a distinguished-looking Englishman with a stiff white collar, slightly beefy, blond, with a delicate English-summer's-night air about him that came out in the first rippling sweet number he played as the bass-player leaned to him reverently and thrummed the beat. The drummer, Denzil Best, sat motionless except for his wrists snapping the brushes. And Shearing began to rock; a smile broke over his ecstatic face; he began to rock in the piano seat, back and forth, slowly at first, then the beat went up, and he began rocking fast, his left foot jumped up with every beat, his neck began to rock crookedly, he brought his face down to the keys, he pushed his hair back, his combed hair dissolved, he began to sweat. The music picked up. The bass-player hunched over and socked it in, faster and faster, it seemed faster and faster, that's all. Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you'd think the man wouldn't have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea. Folks yelled for him to "Go!" Dean was sweating; the sweat poured down his collar. "There he is! That's him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!" And Shearing was conscious of the madman behind him, he could hear every one of Dean's gasps and imprecations, he could sense it though he couldn't see. "That's right!" Dean said. "Yes!" Shearing smiled, he rocked. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great 1949 days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. "God's empty chair," he said. On the piano a horn sat; its golden shadow made a strange reflection along the desert caravan painted on the wall behind the drums. God was gone; it was the silence of his departure. It was a rainy night. It was the myth of the rainy night. Dean was popeyed with awe. This madness would lead nowhere.
 

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Another of the originals gone. RIP.
 

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Nobody can complain about living to age 91 (or 92). He had a VERY full life and career by all accounts.
 

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About five years ago, I was playing a gig at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL. About two songs into the first set, this blind guy comes walking in led by another man. He came over and sat at the table directly in front of me, about eight feet away. He sat there and smiled for the entire four-hour gig. It was George Shearing. I was humbled and honored to play my sax for him for four hours.
 

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Always a favorite. I'll keep playing his stuff with Mel Torme and Joe Williams forever. His life was long and full and he lived every bit of it as a gentle, happy, caring soul. Great sense of humor, too. RIP.
 

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Sad news...........RIP
 

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George Shearing passed away today.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postmortem/2011/02/george-shearing-dies-pianist-c.html

In the words of Jack Kerouac:

Dean and I went to see Shearing at Birdland in the midst of the long, mad weekend. The place was deserted, we were the first customers, ten o'clock. Shearing came out, blind, led by the hand to his keyboard. He was a distinguished-looking Englishman with a stiff white collar, slightly beefy, blond, with a delicate English-summer's-night air about him that came out in the first rippling sweet number he played as the bass-player leaned to him reverently and thrummed the beat. The drummer, Denzil Best, sat motionless except for his wrists snapping the brushes. And Shearing began to rock; a smile broke over his ecstatic face; he began to rock in the piano seat, back and forth, slowly at first, then the beat went up, and he began rocking fast, his left foot jumped up with every beat, his neck began to rock crookedly, he brought his face down to the keys, he pushed his hair back, his combed hair dissolved, he began to sweat. The music picked up. The bass-player hunched over and socked it in, faster and faster, it seemed faster and faster, that's all. Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you'd think the man wouldn't have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea. Folks yelled for him to "Go!" Dean was sweating; the sweat poured down his collar. "There he is! That's him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!" And Shearing was conscious of the madman behind him, he could hear every one of Dean's gasps and imprecations, he could sense it though he couldn't see. "That's right!" Dean said. "Yes!" Shearing smiled, he rocked. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great 1949 days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. "God's empty chair," he said. On the piano a horn sat; its golden shadow made a strange reflection along the desert caravan painted on the wall behind the drums. God was gone; it was the silence of his departure. It was a rainy night. It was the myth of the rainy night. Dean was popeyed with awe. This madness would lead nowhere.
I just finished reading On The Road and these lines you quoted are the first place I'd heard of George Shearing.

RIP Mr Shearing
 

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end of an era in some ways. Had the great fortune to hear him on two ocassons in the SF area with Mel Torme what a combo!!!
They really swung and come together at an opportune time in their respective careers.
 

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Rip, I just bought his stuff with mel torme last week.
 

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I've got a CD with him playing with Cannoball. Good stuff. I really need to check out more of his playing.
 

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There was a CD released a couple of years ago with Gerry Mulligan, George Shearing, and Mel Torment. It's a nice CD - not groundbreaking in any way but just great "pipe & slipper jazz" as Jeru used to describe it.
 

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A good life lived. I like his music
 

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at least ten years ago went and saw him at the melbourne concert hall. he walked on stage... sat down at the piano... pressed ? middle C... he moved the chair an inch to the right and then... 'playtime'
 

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I wish I'd caught him live, but did see him on TV a couple of times. Real treats!

Rip George Shearing.
 
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