British-born pianist George Shearing's work for the MGM and Capitol record labels from the late '40s to the early '60s is collected on this 21-track compilation. Beginning with four tracks recorded for MGM in 1949 with his unique quintet of guitar, bass, drums, and vibraphone (which would double the melody he was playing with his right hand), Shearing's piano work is always tasteful and guaranteed to swing. Although the players regularly changed, he stuck with the quintet with vibraphone format throughout this period. Of special note are the three tracks included where Shearing backs up vocalists: 1951's "You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?)" featuring Billy Eckstine, 1959's "You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" with Peggy Lee, and 1960's "The Nearness of You" featuring Nancy Wilson. There are also two solo tracks ("Tenderly" from 1950 and "Memories of You" from 1960) and one trio track ("What Is This Thing Called Love" from 1962). This disc does a very nice job of capturing the laid-back sound of Shearing and is a good place to start a collection of his work. It is also recommended to anyone looking for an album of quiet, romantic piano tunes.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra