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September 14, 2008:

THE SHEARING TOUCH

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, as I sit and write these here notes, I am listening to a new four CD set of George Shearing recordings made for the MPS label in the late 1970s. I had four of these albums on LP and they were favorites, but there’s a bonus here, a fifth unreleased album. For me, listening to the genius that is George Shearing is one of the most pleasurable things I know of. Whether it’s his Capitol quintet albums, his solo piano outings, or these marvelously marvelous trio albums (trio being piano, bass, and guitar – no drums), Mr. Shearing never fails to astonish, enchant, and, for me, be tremendously touching. One of the albums included in this set is called On Target, and that album features Shearing and a full symphony orchestra, arranged and conducted by the brilliant Robert Farnon, and that one in particular is gorgeous beyond belief. The others are much more jazz oriented, but Mr. Shearing is so accessible and such a great player that one never tires of hearing him have his way with a whole slew of wonderful tunes. If for some reason you’ve never heard Mr. Shearing, hie yourself to your nearest store or to amazon and give him a whirl. My personal favorite of all his albums, and one I write about in Kritzer Time, is called The Shearing Piano – just George and a piano making the most beautiful music. The best track on that album filled with great tracks is Frank Loesser’s A Tune For Humming – that track had a profound influence on me as a young teen. I probably wore out several copies of the LP playing that particular track over and over and over again. I only saw Mr. Shearing perform live once – at Carnegie Hall on a bill with Cleo Laine and her husband Johnny Dankworth. What an evening that was – watching and hearing Mr. Shearing live made the music all the more special. My goodness, have I been waxing rhapsodically about Mr. Shearing instead or writing notes? I have, and I’m glad. Speaking of glad, yesterday was a pretty nice day. I got up after a good night’s sleep, did the long jog, then came home and did some things on the computer, and wrote down a few ideas for a little change I’m going to make in Nudie Musical. I then did a couple of errands, including shipping a package. Sadly, there was no mail for me today. I then wrote a bunch of e-mails, and then toddled off to the Studio City CafĂ© to have my beloved barbecue chicken sandwich and four Buffalo wings and a teeny-tiny salad, which was my meal o’ the day. I then went over to Amoeba with a whole bag o’ DVDs to trade in. I got very good credit, and I got the Shearing box and several other CDs. I then came home, did some more stuff on the computer whilst listening to the first two CDs in the Shearing set. I then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The Spiral Road, a film of Robert Mulligan, starring Mr. Rock Hudson and Mr. Burl Ives. Made and released just before To Kill A Mockingbird, this was the last film Mulligan made with producer Robert Arthur. Starting with Mockingbird, Mr. Mulligan would work with the great Alan Pakula. The Spiral Road is an odd film, and one I hadn’t seen before. It’s an anti-drama – a lot of stuff is talked about, events happen, but it all just sort of lumbers along during it’s extremely long 139 minutes. Mr. Mulligan’s direction is fine, the actors are all fine, but the script is way too talky, and things just happen and then the next thing happens and on and on. There is a twenty-something minute sequence of Mr. Hudson alone in a jungle that’s excellently done – would the whole film have been that good. The score is by Jerry Goldsmith and while it’s not totally great (did we really need to emphasize Mr. Ives’s girth by having his scenes underscored with a tuba?), most of it is excellent and filled with trademark Goldsmith melodies and percussion. I will say that Mr. Mulligan had impeccable taste in composers – Goldsmith here, Mancini on The Great Imposter, Bernstein on The Rat Race, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Baby, The Rain Must Fall, Previn on Inside Daisy Clover, and Fred Karlin on The Stalking Moon and Up The Down Staircase. The transfer is okay, color-wise, but is obviously several generations away from a camera negative.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below whilst I continue to be bowled over by the Shearing touch.

Today, I shall do very little. I shall, of course, get up, I shall do the long jog, I shall do some work on the computer, and I must begin writing an article for our very first LACCTAA newsletter, but otherwise I shall take it easy and will also find something amusing to eat.

Tomorrow I may be seeing a show in the evening, and the day will be filled with telephonic calls and writing and organizing. The rest of the week is filled with meetings, meals, and a work session or two.

Now wait just a darned minute – let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora and the Monkey, because today is the actual birthday of our very own singdaw, who, since his arrival here at haineshisway.com has become a favorite of one and all and also all and one. So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own singdaw. On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN SINGDAW!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, take a long jog, write an article, and take it easy. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, and do go out and discover the magic of the Shearing touch – you’ll be glad you did, and tell them Bruce-O sent you.

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