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Shirley Horn
You're My Thrill
Verve CD 314 549 417-2, 2001 (44:17)

Magesterial authority

Dan Macintosh

The juxtaposition of Shirley Horn's unflustered vocals calmly selling a song about the excitement of love, "You're My Thrill," opens an album overflowing with further documented evidence pointing to this singer/pianist's greatness, as well as her undeniably strong musical personality.

She simply exudes authority. Few, for example, could take a song like "The Best Is Yet to Come," which is almost Sinatra's private property by now, and make it hers. When she dips down into her lower register, one suspects she can make lovers cower with the kind of respect only Ol' Blue Eyes used to command. The best is yet to come, all right, and nobody better screw it up! (Or at least that's what Commander Horn appears to be saying between the lines).

"The Best Is Yet To Come" is an upbeat and positive song, but when Horn gets around to the dealings of her wrong-doer in "Why Don't You Do Right?," its title is not a question but an order.

The nucleus of this session is Horn and her trio, with Charles Ables on bass, and Steve Williams on percussion. Producer Johnny Mandel also fills this date with an undercurrent of strings, which are so quiet at times they sound like faraway angels sighing. Horn's voice is center stage most of the way here, which makes instrumental solos, such as Carl Saunders' dreamy counterpoint on "Solitary Moon," stand out.

At a time when divas are apt to over-sing, like they're in some sort of an uncalled for slam dunk contest, Shirley Horn shows the kids how it's really done. How much more admirable it is to inhabit a song with clear talent and true style, rather than blowing right through it. Now that, music fans, is a thrill.

performers  You're My Thrill; The Best Is Yet to Come; Solitary Moon; Sharing the Night With the Blues; I Got Lost in His Arms; The Rules of the Road; My Heart Stood Still; You'd Better Love Me; The Very Thought of You; Why Don't You Do Right?; All Night Long

songs  Shirley Horn, Piano, Vocals · Dorival Caymmi, Guitar · Alan Broadbent, Piano · Brian Bromberg, Bass · Russell Malone, Guitar · Charles Ables, Bass · Larry Bunker, Vibes · Chuck Domanico, Bass · Carl Saunders, Trumpet · Steve Schaeffer, Drums · Steve Williams, Percussion, Drums · and orchestra arranged by Johnny Mandel

also recommended

Now in her seventh decade, Horn is aging like a fine Hermitage. Since 1987, she has been recording a series of outstanding albums for Verve. We warmly recommend the following.

You Won't Forget Me, Verve CD 847 482-2, 1988
Miles Davis guests on this collection, largely ballads.

I Remember Miles, Verve CD 314 557 199-2, 1998
Ten years later, Horn repays the compliment with a group of songs by or associated with Miles. See Dan's review.

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