Shirley Horn: Memories of You
Memories of You
Shirley Horn (vocals, piano)
Close Enough for Love (Verve 837933-2)
Charles Ables (bass), Steve Williams (drums).
Composed by Eubie Blake & Andy Razaf.
Recorded: New York, November 14-16, 1988
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
The two Washington, D.C., natives, Shirley Horn and Buck Hill, had a special rapport, as evident on tracks featuring them both on several of Horn's Verve CDs, which helped launch her "comeback" and led to wider recognition of her singular vocal and piano skills. Hill's profile was also on the rise in the '80s as a top mainstream saxophonist, so that their recorded interactions couldn't have been better timed.
Horn and Hill linger over "Memories of You" for a full, mesmerizing seven minutes. Few singers have the talent or courage to take such an old warhorse at such a snail's pace. Horn's deliberate, understated recital of the lyrics – phrase by separated phrase – revitalizes them, as Hill plays sensuous obbligatos in flawless support, and Horn accompanies herself with softly accentuating chords. Hill's absorbing solo is more extroverted, but with a controlled passion. Horn continues her tastefully appropriate comping right up to the saxophonist's well-conceived and gracefully executed resolution. The singer concludes with one more hesitant, thoughtful and ultimately heartbreakingly intimate journey through the familiar words and melody of Razaf and Blake. The composers wrote the song as a feature for the three-octave vocal range of Minto Cato in the Broadway musical revue Blackbirds of 1930. Horn brings it down to earth utilizing limited vocal resources, yet with sensitivity and artistry second to none.
Reviewer: Scott Albin