George Shearing: East of the Sun
East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
George Shearing Quintet
The Definitive George Shearing (Verve 314 589 857-2)
Composed by Brooks Bowman.
Recorded: New York, July 27, 1949
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
In 1949, pianist George Shearing committed jazz's cardinal sin: popularity. Building an appealing formula around closely voiced block chords and bracketing his keyboard with vibes and guitar, Shearing caressed the contours of a melody in relaxed, behind-the-beat unison, polishing medium-tempo standards to a perfect sheen. The public loved it. Therefore critics hated it. But open your ears for 3 minutes and let "East of the Sun" in. You'll be captivated by the care shown to dynamic shadings (a lost art in bebop) and by Shearing's shimmering ensembles, like church bells pealing amid the English countryside on a quiet summer morn.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz