George Shearing

Claude Bolling: Concerto for Classic Guitar and Jazz Piano

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Proving conclusively that Claude Bolling's engaging guitar concerto has legs and can withstand differing interpretations, George Shearing and classical guitarist Angel Romero put out their own version as a rival to the Bolling/Alexander Lagoya recording. And there are differences, though to a subtle degree that classical listeners would be more accustomed to debating. To cite a few details, Shearing and Romero take "Hispanic Dance" and "Rhapsodic" a little faster than Bolling/Lagoya; Romero is more of a precise virtuoso than Lagoya; and Shearing displays a touch more freedom in the improvised portions of the piano part. Shelly Manne is expertly adept at the percussive effects that Bolling asks for, and he and bassist Ray Brown usually outswing their French counterparts. Yet this performance has a softer focus in general, and Angel's early digital sound is not as sharp as CBS's analog recording. However, it does have something that the composer's recording does not -- five Spanish works for solo guitar as encores. While both recordings are excellent, this one is a better buy.

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