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Don Shirley - Solos
Cadence CLP3007 [1958]
1. It Could Happen To You 
2. Laura 
3. I'll Be Around 
4. Bewitched 
5. Something To Remember You By 
6. Ill Wind 
7. Little Girl Blue 
8. I'm In The Mood For Love 
9. And This Is My Beloved 
10. April In Paris 
11. It Never Entered My Mind
12. Don't Worry 'Bout Me

Reissued on
Collectable Jazz Classics


          When he was a child Don Shirley like to play--the piano and all the rough and tumble games little boys are supposed to like.  His parents, however, worried about his hands.  They thought he might harm them and ruin any chances of a great career.  So Don Shirley compromised.  He learned to walk the tightrope.  And he's been walking one ever since.
          He's equal parts jazz and serious music.  Stravinksy calls Shirley's playing worthy of the gods.  Al Collins claims Don makes old tunes sound like they have never been played before. Downbeat lauds him. London's Gramophone applauds him.  Don Shirley's piano gives all manner of music lovers a message, but still his style remains an enigma.
          Neither purely jazz nor chastely classical, his way with a piano is actually a sympathetic synthesis of the two. For the traffic of his 99 keys, Don Shirley chooses the  familiar.  He uses an old tune like I'm In The Mood For Love, to carry the listener quite comfortably from the known to the unknown.   This peculiar; auditory hegia is accomplished in many ways - all of them smooth and singularly subtle.  He broadens the standards to point where it embraces traditional forms; fugues or litanies or madrigals.  His variations, then, are not those of an ordinary jazz musician.  They are, rather, classically legal and legitimate variations on a melody.
          All this may seem to put a mortar board and pince-nez on Don Shirley's psychological visage, but that's hardly the case.  Don's piano is as happy as it was in the long ago when he felt E-flat major was a round red apple.  It is bright and tart as the time a song reminded him of yellow lemons in the sun.  It is, in short, as complex and interesting as Don Shirley's psyche.  It is above all, listenable and lovely.  You will love it without half realizing the genius of Don Shirley.