With The George Shearing Quintet
The Rare Delight of You
Review by Karl Lozier
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SACD Number: Telarc Hybrid SACD/CD - 63546
This is going to be an easy review to write. Now I will tell you why. Everyone audibly involved in this recording has contributed just as a true professional should. The contributions are extremely well done as would be true of experienced professionals learning and ever improving with time. Everyone's goal here is the same - to make this well thought out recording as good as it can be. They have succeeded admirably. You really do not need to read any more of what I have to say.
This is a slightly updated vintage Shearing with his easygoing style of cool jazz piano playing. Typical superb complementary accompaniment with Ted on vibraphone, Neil on bass, Dennis with his deft touch on drums and percussion and Reg perhaps having a break at times, when Pizzarelli is playing. Originally I had written that all were featured playing their respective instruments. The more I thought about it the less accurate that statement became in my mind. No one is featured: all are beautifully equal sonically. Obviously neither the vintage old pro George Shearing or the famous newcomer John Pizzarelli demanded nor got audibly spotlighted. Featured here is a superb quintet with a vocalist added as an equal - listeners will simply enjoy and then enjoy more. A top recommendation is mandatory. If you are not familiar with
Pizzarelli, you should enjoy his easygoing style and clear enunciation, no lyric sheet is needed, every word is perfectly clear.
The recording quality is a real fooler. It might bother some audiophiles a bit at first, as it gives no hint of being
hi-fiish. It is beautifully natural sounding and because all the performers are playing in a very relaxed style there is no added sounds, emphasis or edginess to be found. All is audibly picked up to near perfection. Ah, if half the recordings in my collections would sound almost this good I would be so very very satisfied. I need to keep this CD in mind when it comes time to nominate recordings of the year for 2003.
One thing did surprise me and it is simply personal. When I very briefly glanced over the fifteen selections, I thought to myself "hey I'm very familiar with most of these". Turned out not to be true for me though the performances somehow made me think it was true and I have no explanation for that. Shearing and Pizzarelli each are credited with one of the songs. So is Frank
Loesser, Benny Goodman, Victor Herbert, Irving Berlin and the trio of Bernstein, Comden and Green collaborating on another; that probably had a great deal to the feeling of familiarity. I do not know where to draw any lines, but in my mind Pizzarelli treats the following selections as ballads (so does the quintet!):
"Something to Remember You By", "The Rare Delight of You",
"Indian Summer" and "September In The Rain".
If you are fortunate enough to have a top-flight high-end audio system (and just being expensive does not make it top-flight) you will love having this group "play for you". They will actually come reasonably close (even in the stereo CD mode) to being in your room and not one of the performers is spotlighted in front of the others or way behind the group either. Now think about the following statement. Even though you will not be fooled into believing they are really in the room with you, with your quality high-end sound system (Enjoy
the Music.com™ equipment reviews can help here) they will sound better than anywhere you can go and hear them perform live! Quite a statement and I will tell you why I said it. Anywhere you could go to hear them perform live, they will be using microphones to pickup their sounds plus the noisy environment and less good (tough professional/commercial grade) amplifiers than yours, amplifying their respective instruments to speakers poorly placed and designed with two things in mind - durability and ability to play loudly. My recommendation is to buy this unassuming jewel of a recording, put it in your player with an appropriate volume setting, turn the lights down a bit, your feet up and relax while being entertained. Highest recommendation for lovers of live unamplified music.