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Shirley Horn: Live at the 4 Queens

Shirley Horn album cover

Resonance Records is not what you would typically think of these days as a record company. Rather than chasing the musical moment du jour, they pride themselves in uncovering hidden moments of musical history to bring to the front row of today.

I imagine a couple of miners, lighted helmets (and a canary in case the air gets bad) digging deep in search of special events to share with music enthusiasts.

For their indefatigable efforts, we have been given new brews from Bill Evans, The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, Stan Getz, Getz and Joao Gilberto, Larry Young, Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughan.

And now Shirley Horn.

The pianist / vocalist with her trio of 20 Plus years, bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams, are captured on May 2, 1988, at what author James Gavin describes as "Las Vegas's hip little oasis for jazz lovers", the club inside the 4 Queens Hotel.

There's no gamble listening here, as Ms. Horn and her mates make special moves on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "The Boy From Ipanema",  "Isn't It Romantic", "Lover Man" and more.

With that velvet voice and swinging, harmonically sophisticated piano styling, you quickly and deeply understand why Horn was a favorite of Miles Davis for years.

To Shirley Horn we give thanks for sharing her wonderful artistry over her career.

To the folks at Resonance, congratulations! With this recording and the engaging 56 page accompanying book documenting her life and career, you surely deserve to take off the helmets, find the bird a good home and enjoy a cold one.

Another job well done.

Shirley Horn "Live at 4 Queens" comes out September 16.

Gary Walker / Morning Jazz


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