But Beautiful – Shirley Horn

Shirley HornShirley Horn
But Beautiful: The Best of Shirley Horn on Verve
(Verve – 2005)
by Matthew Robinson

Though no single album could ever capture the empassioned nuance of the late legend Shirley Horn, this lovingly rendered collection from her long-time label does a pretty good job. From the opening bounce of “I Just Found Out About Love” to the late night tease of “You Won’t Forget Me,” this set of 14 tracks demonstrates many of Shirely’s sides through a select set of Shirley’s sides that range from her tributes to Ray Charles (“You Don’t Know Me”) to her tribute to life itself (“Here’s to Life”). It was this undying love of and lust for life that kept Horn playing even after disease ravaged her body and it is this passion which is revealed even in the gentle leaps of “A Time for Love,” the smoky stacattos of “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” or her smoldering take on “Fever.”

Adding to the pleasures this disc allows are a trio of live selections recorded in 2005, including the yummy Blues “Jelly Jelly,” the pointedly comical “Loads of Love” and a syncopated swing through “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was” that allows long-time fans and new listeners to get lost one more time in Horn’s tieless musical spell. With a voice and musical sense that have never been matched, Horn will surely be missed, but this compilation should help her undeniable legacy linger on. ©2006 M. S. Robinson, ARR