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In Memoriam: George Shearing (1919-2011)

Today we mourn the passing of a vital yet under-appreciated member of the jazz elite: pianist George Shearing.

Witness his brilliance in this performance of “Conception,” the head of which I regard as one of my all-time favorite melodies:

Miles Davis recorded a number of Shearing tunes, and you can hear his jubilant take on “Conception” as a bonus track on Dig (Prestige, 1956). Davis and the Birth of the Cool nonet also performed a clever reworking of the piece, titled “Deception:”

This group, more than any, could respectfully convey the bouncing quality of Shearing’s melody.

Although Shearing will be missed, it is comforting to see an icon outlive his most productive creative period.

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