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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Shirley Horn

May the Music Never End

VERVE 0760282


    1. Forget me
    2. If You Go Away
    3. Yesterday
    4. Take Love Easy
    5. Never Let Me Go
    6. Watch What Happens
    7. Ill Wind
    8. Maybe September
    9. Everything Must Change
    10. This Is All I Ask
    11. May The Music Never End

Shirley Horn – Vocal
George Mesterhazy – Piano (except 8 & 10)
Rd Howard - Bass
Steve Williams – Drums
Ahmad Jamal – Piano (8 & 10)
Roy Hargrove – Flugelhorn (4 & 7)

This quotation is from Stanley Crouch’s sleeve note.

Shirley horn is one of those about whom neither enough or too much can be said. This is particularly true in a time such as ours, when the art of popular singing has diminished substantially, primarily because popular music has become narrowly youth-orientated, focussed on the naïve, the sentimental, the crude and the vulgar. Jazz of course, was always an old soul in a new world; its roots in blues and Spirituals took it out of the adolescent arena from the very beginning. It’s emotions were always the emotions of adults, even if those adults were describing their own childhoods.

I wish I had written that.

Shirley horn is one of the greatest singers jazz has ever known she is also an excellent pianist, although she doesn’t play on this album. Strangely George Mesterhazy’s piano playing is very similar to Shirley’s own and he makes a masterful job of accompanying her.

Roy Hargrove plays Flugel to very good effect on tracks 4 & 7 and catches Shirley’s mood perfectly. Whether she is delivering a slow out of tempo ballad or swinging on Take Love Easy or Watch What Happens, Shirley always gets the most out of each song. I noticed with this album that even on a first listening, I enjoyed the unfamiliar tracks just as much as the ones that are well known to me. This may be due to the fact that Shirley makes each song her own, a rare skill.

Ahmad Jamal guests on tracks 8 and 10 and as with Roy Hargrove, he contributes considerably, but as Shirley’s trio is so good anyway, it is harder for him to make an impact. Many singers find it hard to swing on slow numbers, but Shirley delivers better than anyone I have ever known at slow tempos.

This is an excellent album, I have always been a Shirley Horn fan and the more I listen to her singing the more I like it.

Don Mather


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