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Don Shirley - Love Songs
Cadence CLP3034 [1960]

IGOR STRAVINSKY: "His virtuosity is worthy of Gods."
BENTLEY STEGNER, Chicago Sun·Times: "He can play big round notes that fall as softly as velvet, or make bright, little ones leap up like the tinkle of ice in a glass."
SARAH VAUGHAN: "The most glorious sense of shading, phrasing and balance I've ever heard."
AL "JAZZBO" COLLINS: " ... of all the things that might be consigned him, he is most nearly to become the artist embodying the suffusion of the classics and the modern.•."

1. Tenderly - Don Shirley, Gross, Walter 
2. Something to Remember You By - Don Shirley, Schwartz, Arthur 
3. What Is There to Say? - Don Shirley, Duke, Vernon 
4. Answer Me, My Love - Don Shirley, Winkler, Gerhard 
5. I'm in the Mood for Love - Don Shirley, McHugh, Jimmy 
6. These Foolish Things - Don Shirley, Link, Harry 
7. I'll Be Around - Don Shirley, Wilder, Alec 
8. I Can't Get Started - Don Shirley, Duke, Vernon 
9. Secret Love - Don Shirley, Webster, Paul Franc 
10. It Could Happen to You - Don Shirley, Burke, Johnny


Reissued on
Collectable Jazz Classics

          It is impossible to describe Don Shirley's music without analyzing Don himself; and in analyzing, we tend to categorize because we then have a ready frame of reference. Although our age may not have produced the Renaissance Man, Don Shirley probably comes as close as any other human being in our time to that ideal. His musical talents could almost be overlooked from an academic standpoint if one realizes that, in addition to his Doctorate in Music, he is the holder of Doctorates in Psychology and Liturgical Arts, speaks eight languages fluently, and is considered an expert painter as well.
          Like most musicians who are true innovators, Don Shirley the arranger-composer has always been classified in various pigeonholes such as "Jazz," "Classical," "Jazz-oriented Classical" or "Classically-oriented Jazz," but always half-heartedly and with many reservations. His work cannot be catalogued in a particular school of musical composition. Each song is more than just a new arrangement; it is a composition in itself, using the familiar song melody as part of its framework. Though the melodic and harmonic structure of a song by Jimmy McHugh may suggest to Don Nineteenth Century romanticism and not Twentieth Century Hollywood, the melody is always there forming the basic fabric of his arrangement, at the same time inspiring counter-melodies.
          Don's piano style reflects many different influences, yet these are all governed by his own inscrutable and unyielding individuality. He may suddenly quote the familiar style of Garner or Ellington or Shearing. Still these polite tributes are never more than just that, for this is one more device of Don's using his music to create the atmosphere he chooses. "There are three ways to enjoy or to interpret music, from a listening point of view: emotionally, intellectually, and a combination of the two. I have tried to utilize all three, contingent upon the quality of the tune chosen." His choice of using the piano as a stringed rather than as a percussion instrument gives him a flexible and marvelously expressive voice to combine emotion and intellect in the subtlest way.
          The extent of Don's formal training is clearly revealed in his fabulous technic. He began playing piano at the age of 2½ and by the time he was 9 he had been invited to study at the Leningrad Conservatory, where he was to spend a great part of his youth. And yet he was to abandon the piano while still quite young.
          It was while in Chicago as a psychologist that Don "tripped" back into a musical career. He was given a grant to study the relationship, if any, between music and a juvenile crime wave which had suddenly broken out in the early 1950's. Working in a small club there, he used his knowledge and skill to perform experiments in sound, whereby he proved that certain tonal combinations affected the audience's reactions. No one in the audience knew of his experiment, or that students had been planted among them to gauge their reactions.
          But Don Shirley the pianist became a sensation. Appearances in New York followed, notably at the Basin Street, where Duke Ellington first heard him. Here started their warm friendship which was highlighted by Don's performance in 1955 of the premiere of the Duke's Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall with the NBC Symphony of the Air. An appearance on the Arthur Godfrey Show launched his career nationwide.
          Don has composed three symphonies, two piano concerti, a cello concerto, three string quartets, a one-act opera, works for organ, piano and violin, a symphonic tone poem based on "Finnegan's Wake" and a set of "Variations" on the legend of Orpheus in the Underworld.
          All indications seem to be that Don Shirley's favorite career is that of musician, and his material that of our country, our time, and the richness of a many-faceted personality.

          Instructor Donald Shirley once commented to a class that "geography has no priority on human nature." In this album Don unintentionally extends this thought to the universal duet of love and music. The listener finds influences that range from French to German, from Polish to African, and from Russian to very, very American.
          Don calls upon a musical heritage whose roots extend from the Blues of a Bessie Smith or a Big Mae Belle (What Is There To Say), to a litany-like ancient French Aube (Secret Love), and a Chopin form of the Chant Polonaise (It Could Happen To You.)
          In I'm In The Mood For Love, the young artist employs a harmonic structure reminiscent of Schumann and Mendelssohn. The rhythmical figure of the accompaniment-a constant use of the first inversion-is characteristic of the nineteenth century Lieder.
          These Foolish Things offers Don an opportunity to display his mastery of free rhythm, a form associated with the Gregorian Chant. The listener hears an ageing woman reflect on the golden pleasures of the past, and senses that here Don purposely avoids the inhibiting effect of a rigid meter-hence the free rhythm, ·the tremolo of nostalgia on both basses, and the constant use of pedal point.
          The arrangement of I Can't Get Started With You was written after Don saw James Dean in East of Eden. The music softly states the woes of groping youth, building to a crescendo of emotional intensity which is finally broken with a fist-smashing anguish of resolution and resignation. The keen ear will note a touch of Rachmaninoff melancholy in the middle section.
          Within the unexpectedly bold, masculine chords of Tenderly is a mastery of harmonic technique. In the simple melodic line you will hear brilliantly employed the principles of progression and resolution. Note the direction of motion--contrary, as well as the difficult oblique.
          In this album we hear true magic of musical communication--lyrics with a clarity and sensitivity that make one feel he has never really heard them before. "Music is the voice of love," wrote Sincfair Lewis. He could not have anticipated such an articulate spokesman.

Recorded at Bob Blake StudiOS, New York, July 19, 1956, Bass: Richard Davis

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York July 15, 1957

Recorded at Bob Blake Studios, New York July 19, 1956 Bass: Richard Davis

Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, May 7,1955, Bass: Richard Davis

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York July 15, 1957

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York October 21, 1957 Basses: Jim Bond and Kenneth Fricker

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York July 15, 1957

Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, December 20, 1955, Bass: Richard Davis

Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, May 7,1955, Bass: Richard Davis

Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York, July 15, 1957