New Live Album Spotlights 1988 Shirley Horn Concert


Shirley Horn

(Photo: ©Brian McMillen, courtesy of Resonance Records)

Singer and pianist Shirley Horn (1934–2005) was a jazz trailblazer, a female artist whose immense talent put her securely in the company of such jazz legends as Miles Davis, who once said of Horn, “If she don’t play, I ain’t gonna play” during a performance at the Village Vanguard.

This fall, fans of Horn will have an opportunity to hear a live album of previously unreleased tracks. On Sept. 16, Resonance Records will issue Live At The 4 Queens, featuring Horn and her veteran bandmates, bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams.

Originally recorded by Las Vegas NPR affiliate KNPR on May 2, 1988, at the 4 Queens Hotel, the album will be available as a deluxe CD package and a digital download.

Live At The 4 Queens was recorded about a year after Horn’s milestone 1987 album I Thought About You (Verve), which was viewed as the “comeback” record that reignited her international touring career after a nearly 20-year hiatus—during which she focused primarily on raising her daughter in her hometown of Washington, D.C.

The album includes a 56-page book documenting Horn’s life and career, featuring interviews conducted by Resonance Records producer Zev Feldman, who topped the Rising Star—Producer category of the 2016 DownBeat Critics Poll. Additional essays were contributed by journalist James Gavin, producers Jean-Philippe Allard and Richard Seidel, longtime Horn drummer Steve Williams, singer Sheila Jordan, jazz radio veteran Rusty Hassan, KNPR engineer Brian Sanders, manager Sheila Mathis and Horn’s daughter, Rainy Smith.

With nine tracks and more than 50 minutes of music, Live At The 4 Queens features Horn’s interpretations of popular songs, including “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” “The Boy From Ipanema” (Horn’s spin on the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic), “Isn’t It Romantic?,” “Lover Man” and others.

Championed in her early career by Davis and bandleader Quincy Jones, Horn was known for her supple touch at the keyboard and her ability to sustain momentum even at slow tempos, skills that made her a favorite of jazz critics.

A nine-time Grammy Award nominee, she eventually won for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1999 for her album I Remember Miles, produced by Seidel.

Horn was named a 2005 National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master, the highest honor bestowed on U.S. jazz musicians. She died on Oct. 20 of that year.

Producer Feldman said the new release will help preserve Horn’s influential legacy. “We want this CD and album book to remind us why she was great, why she mattered,” he said.

Live At The 4 Queens will be released with the participation of KNPR Las Vegas. Sound restoration was overseen by George Klabin and Fran Gala, and the album’s packaging was the creation of Resonance designer Burton Yount. The album is available for pre-order on iTunes.

For more information, visit the Resonance Records website.

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November 2021
Joey DeFrancesco
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