Jumping with Symphony Sid: By George Shearing

The master pianist George Shearing was blind from birth but overcame this terrible handicap. Last weekend I talked to another professional pianist who had known him and he said Shearing was a most kindly and contented man. Born in England Shearing came to America where he achieved great recognition and a long career. His original recording of ‘Jumping with Symphony Sid’ (the composition was a tribute to the disc jockey ‘Symphony’ Sid Torrin by another musician) contained several choruses of outstanding bebop piano solo by Shearing. The tune is a mere 12 bar riff and the other soloists, who are not exceptional, only solo briefly because in those days a record could not run for more than three minutes. Still the riff is catchy and uplifting, the Shearing sound of guitar, vibes and piano in unison is sophisticated and George’s several choruses of crisp, tight, unpredictable phrasing make this a classic. Oh to be transported back to those days, leaving behind today’s whiny folk music, mindless Rock, mechanical dance ‘music’ and pansy singers.

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