Back Cover Notes:
STATEMENT ABOUT DON SHIRLEY
New York-- October 1960
Whenever I am in a studio recording Don Shirley a
sense of having been accorded a great privilege
comes over me. It reconfirms again and again
my sincere conviction that Don Shirley possesses a
truly great talent. As a musician, I am constantly
overwhelmed by his technical virtuosity and his
imaginative creativity. As a human being, I am
often emotionally moved by his lyricism--sometimes-I
am not ashamed to say--to the point of tears.
Don Shirley's real greatness lies,
I believe, in his creativity. His version of a
popular song is not an arrangement--it is a
re-creation--a new composition. It is his
impression of the original--the way he hears it in
terms of his own means of expression--just as a
painter paints a subject as he sees it in terms of
his own means of expression.
The means of expression Don
Shirley uses are as many and varied as the influence
which contributed to his development. He was
born of highly intellectual parents--he spent six
years studying piano and composition at the
Leningrad Conservatory--he spent a short time as a
practicing psychologist--he paints expertly--he hold
Doctorates in Music, Psychology, and Liturgical
Arts--he has the same admiration for Odetta and
Ellington that he has for Rachmaninoff and Debussy.
All these influences--plus many more--create the
uniqueness of his musical expression. However,
because of this uniqueness, Don Shirley does not fit
any of the "pigeon-hole" categories into which Show
Business likes to put people. Although he makes use
of the jazz idiom, he cannot be called a "jazz
pianist." Although he makes use of the blues
idiom, he cannot be called a "blues pianist."
Because he makes use of the jazz, blues, and
classical idioms--and often develops thematic
material in the manner of a serious composter--he
cannot be called a "popular pianist." Because he
devotes his performing and creative talent to "music
of the people"--folk songs, blues, spirituals, and
so-called "popular songs"--he cannot be called a
"classical pianist." What is he then? I say he is a
uniquely talented creative artist-perhaps a
genius--who brings an extraordinary musical
experience to anyone who listens to him with an open
mind and an open hear.
President, Cadence Records
WATER BOY--Traditional song arranged by Don
This famous old prison song has become the Don
Shirley Trio's most requested number. The
performance is Don's impression of Odetta's famous
WHERE'S MY BESS--From PORGY AND BESS
--By George & Ira Gershwin
The three instruments of the Don Shirley Trio play
the roles of the three characters who sing this song
in the opera--the piano, Porgy--the cello,
Sabena--the bass, Maria.
A MOORISH MARKET PLACE--By Don Shirley
An exotic original composition by Shirley--using a
figure introduced by the piano and continued
throughout by the cello and bass--a device of
musical composition called an "ostinato."
MAN I LOVE--From LADY BE GOOD
--By George & Ira Gershwin
This brilliant "tour de force" is a great favorite
of Don Shirley fans. Though hard to believe without
seeing it, the piano solo from the beginning to the
brief quote from RHAPSODY IN BLUE is played by the
left hand alone. The bass solo later on is a
good example of the remarkable talent of bassist Ken
THIS NEARLY WAS MINE--From SOUTH PACIFIC
--By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein 2nd
This lyric interpretation seems to make the
beautiful words of Oscar Hammerstein actually seem
to come to life.
BLUE SKIES--By Irving Berlin
In this impression of one of Irving Berlin's
immortal songs, Don displays a strong influence of
his Russian musical training. As Mr. Berlin is
of Russian birth, this is an interesting
coincidence--or perhaps it is no coincidence--or
perhaps it is no coincidence at all--but rather an
example of Don Shirley's amazing insight.
ADIEU MADRAZ--Jamaican Folk Song arranged by Don
A beautifully tender folk song form Don's native
Jamaica. Its story is that of a woman's headpiece (madraz)
left as a goodbye remembrance for her lover.
TRIBUTE TO BILLIE HOLIDAY
TRAVELING LIGHT--By J. Mercer, J. Mundy-T. Young
DON'T EXPLAIN--By Billie Holiday & Arthur Herzog
EASY LIVING--By Ralph Rainger & Leo Robin
GOD BLESS THE CHILD--By B. Holiday & A. Herzog
As a good friend of the late Billie Holiday, Don
believes that these four songs, closely
indentifified [sic] with Miss Holiday, aptly depict
her tragic life. TRAVELING LIGHT connotes the
circumstances of her birth and youth. DON'T
EXPLAIN characterizes her hatred of the "phony."
EASY LIVING is really a contradiction--because she
always lives for love, but found it only in her
music. GOD BLESS THE CHILD explains her
"Them that's got shall get!
Them that don't shall lose!
So the Bible says, And it still is news.
Moma may have!
Papa my have
But God Bless the child that's got his own.
(reproduced by permission of E. B. Marks, Inc.)
BY MYSELF--From BETWEEN THE DEVIL
--By Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz
I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING--Folk Songs arranged
by Don Shirley
A look at the words of both these songs how the
reason for combining them. A love may be lost-life
may be, for a while, lonely-but the search for true
love never ceases. The unresolved musical ending is
Don's suggestion that, in love, all is never
finished--there is always hope.
FREEDOM--Negro Spiritual arranged by Don Shirley
I'M ON MY WAY--Negro Spiritual arranged by
Out of the Negroes' fight against the
intolerableness of slavery came the moving spiritual
FREEDOM--which later became the marching song of the
Negro regiments in the Civel War. Don feels
that the powerful phrases still apply:
"Oh freedom! Oh freedom!
Oh freedom, over me!
And before I'd be a slave,
I'd be buried in my grave,
Go home to my Lord and be free--"
combined this with I'M ON MY WAY, because the Negro
feels he has achieved some degree of freedom and is
now really "on his way" toward becoming a completely
accepted member of our society.
WHEN YOUR LOVER HAD GONE--by Einar Swan
Just a wonderful old song played in the inimitable
style of --The Don Shirley Trio!
LP was recorded monophonically and stereophonically
at the Fine Recording Studios in New York on July
11th and 13th, 1960, by recording engineer George
Piros, under the supervision of Bock Mack for
Cadence, employing two Neumann u-47 microphones for
the piano pickup plus a U-47 for the cello and a
U-47 for the bass.
tapes were made on Ampex 300 recorders and the
master discs were cut directly from the original
tapes by Claude Rie on a Neumann lathe with a
Westrex 3C cutter for stereo and a Westrex 2b cutter
for mono. Both cutters are flat plus or minus 1/2 DB
for 30 cycles to 16,000 cycles. The master
lacquers were hand crafted by the Dulcet Tone
Corporation. The pressings were manufactured
of the purest vinyl yet developed by Sonic Recording
Products Inc., the Indianapolis plant of RCA Victor,
and the Monarch Record Manufacturing Company.
We believe this is the best recording of Don Shirley
we have every been able to make. It is
particularly effective in stereo.
Photography - Design - Frank Gauna
Typography - The Composing Room, Inc.
Printing - Lithographic Corporation of America