June 14, 2024

George Shearing and Brian Torff George Shearing and Brian Torff
Lullaby of Birdland
(Concord Jazz – 2000)
by Paula Edelstein

With a career spanning over 60 years, George Shearing is known throughout the world as a great jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. The 2-CD set, LULLABY OF BIRDLAND on Concord Jazz, serves up a “live” session of 18 songs that flawlessly swing and are beautifully executed by the pianist and bassist Brian Torff. Their BLUES ALLEY JAZZ and ON A CLEAR DAY make up this great double showcase of talent and jazz. The previously released collection features such great rhythmic numbers as Billy Taylor’s “One For The Woofer,” a great note-for-note piece for the piano/bass duo and Shearing’s rhythmic approach to “The Masquerade Is Over.”

His up-tempo take on “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” is a delight in expression, nuance and communication between bassist Brian Torff and himself. This special two-disc collection also features the beautiful “For Every Man There’s A Woman” and the rousing “live” version of the Shearing bebop standard, “Lullaby of Birdland.” Set aside from the usual quintet setting, these songs find an exceptional mix of jazz sophistication and syncopation in the duet setting. With their fluid arrangement of skills on display the live recordings originally released in 1980 provide what it means to be a complete jazz musician. George Shearing and Brian Torff are the complete jazz musicians on LULLABY OF BIRDLAND.

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