George Shearing / Carmen McRae

Two for the Road

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There are far too few recordings of top-notch jazz singers backed solely by equally talented pianists, so this onetime meeting of George Shearing and Carmen McRae proves to be magical. Shearing recorded solo piano sessions a number of times during his long career, though he rarely played unaccompanied for a vocalist, with the exception of his meetings with Mel Tormé. McRae also had a prolific career and is still in great voice interpreting this standard-heavy collection. Shearing's inventive chord substitutions in "Too Late Now" are a treat, with the singer making a delayed entrance. Shearing is rollicking in "Gentleman Friend" (the album's only uptempo track), which also features McRae doing a bit of scatting. The lesser-known "Cloudy Morning" finds the pianist in a bit of an impressionist mood and also sharing the vocals, while McRae's powerful interpretation of "More Than You Know" is another gem.

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