07 November 2005

Shirley Horn 1934—2005

A great musician has passed from us, after suffering from diabetes for the last two years. Shirley Horn was one of the great jazz singers - and a good pianist too. Not very well known to the general public, but the closest thing we had to an outstanding diva after the departure of Sarah Vaughn. Like most great musicians, she got better and more distinctively honed her style as she ripened into full maturity. Her singing became even slower and she stayed further and further behind the beat - rather like Jimmy Scott. I love her smokey versions of Irving Berlin's I Got Lost in his Arms and Carroll Coates' Here's Looking at You!. Who will inherit the mantle? Well, for the moment Cassandra Wilson looks like the best bet.

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