Back in 1954 my wife
Dee and I had arranged for a baby sitter and were on our way to
downtown Raleigh, N. C. to see a musical show featuring "Count"
Basie and his orchestra followed by George Shearing.......
British born jazz pianist and composer.
It was a cold winter night, with three inches of snow on the
ground as we pulled in the parking lot on Fayetteville Street.
We has been seated ten minutes or so when the curtain pulled
back and Basie's orchestra's broke into there opening song ...as
black and white folks let out a roar........
Basie gave us an hours music and I am sure everyone
appreciated it as the band ...still playing... slowly
disappeared behind the shiny curtain.
Ten minutes passed... the curtain opened and there was George
Shearing, his piano and bass man with his "big toy" ...as
Shearing called it. George waved to everyone, took a seat near
his piano and started playing his first song. Stardust.
The crowd of 500 broke into hand-clapping, yelling until you
couldn't hear Shearing.
George Shearing stood up, held his arms extended over his six
foot body, until everyone stopped. There was dead silence.
"If you want to hear me play, that's fine with me but you
must be quiet. I am not Count Basie....."
George Shearing, blind since birth, died Feb. 14, 2011
The music of the Swing Years.
I'm sorry if you missed it.