Shirley Horn: You Go to My Head


You Go to My Head


Shirley Horn (vocals, piano)


The Main Ingredient (Verve 314 529 555-2)

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Shirley Horn (vocals, piano), Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Elvin Jones (drums),

Steve Novosel (bass)


Composed by Haven Gillespie & J. Fred Coots


Recorded: Washington, DC, May 15-18, 1995


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

The main ingredients ensuring the success of a jazz recording session usually include the chemistry between the musicians involved and a relaxed atmosphere. In the case of Shirley Horn's The Main Ingredient, you can add good home cooking and "some booze." This was an onsite production over the course of four days at Horn's Washington, D.C., home, with Shirley doing the cooking while her manager, Sheila Mathis, took care of the technical issues. Included in the CD's notes is the singer's recipe for "my famous beef-and-beer," the contents of which include "1-beer (Heineken)" and "1/2 pint Wild Irish Rose (wine)." Yes, a good time was had by all.

Considering the "intoxicating" culinary setting, this marvelous 9-minute "You Go to My Head" should come as no surprise. Joe Henderson slowly unfurls the melody at a trademark sauntering Horn tempo. Her extremely sensitive comping matches his detailed and sultry-toned delivery, while Elvin Jones's exquisitely executed brushwork is skillfully captured by the great engineer David Baker. As Horn next breathily contemplates the words, Henderson's spacey, fluttering, and sometimes serpentine responses continue to reveal how emphatically attuned the vocalist and tenorman are to one another. After the track ends, you might not even realize that neither Horn nor Henderson soloed. Their subtle shadings and the collective impact of their miniature commentaries are so overwhelmingly absorbing as to require no extended individual elaborations. This is a wonderful home-brewed treatment of the well-known standard. Let's eat in tonight!

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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  • 1 James Knox // Mar 21, 2009 at 03:20 AM
    What a great song and a wonderful album. I have not played it in awhile but after this review, I will definitely play it tonight.