Archive for the ‘George Shearing’ Tag

Fantastic Foursome – A Very Friendly Song   Leave a comment

We’re way overdue for a new edition of Fantastic Foursome, the special feature that presents four different takes on a song (plus a video of the definitive version) and lets you decide which you like best. Of course, voting in the poll is completely voluntary but it’s quick, easy, and anonymous.fp

Most of us will remember “Friendly Persuasion” as performed by Pat Boone, and you might also recall that he sang it on the soundtrack of the 1956 film of the same name. The movie featured a peace-loving Quaker family coping with the Civil War, and the title was a play on the other name used by Quakers, the Society of Friends.

The song itself was composed by movie music maestro Dimitri Tiomkin with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, and it became one of Tiomkin’s many Oscar-nominated pieces. (Although not one of his three winners — it was beaten out for the award by Doris Day’s “Que Sera, Sera” from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much.)

Pat Boone’s version was by far the most popular record of the song, but other notable renditions included those by the Four Aces, the Lettermen, Ray Coniff, Johnny Mathis, Matt Monro, and Aretha Franklin. Even jazz pianist George Shearing got into the act, recording one of a number of instrumental versions.

Below are four you can try: 

Four AcesFrank Chacksfield OrchGeorge ShearingJohnny Mathis

Four AcesFrank ChacksfieldGeorge ShearingJohnny Mathis

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Dakota Staton – Beyond George Shearing   Leave a comment

The recent death of George Shearing was noted in a number of articles, and some of the more detailed pieces mentioned various performers who recorded with the legendary jazz pianist. Among them was a singer whose name might not be quite as familiar as Shearing’s — but his 1958 pairing with singer Dakota Staton on In The Night resulted in the creation of a jazz classic.

Shearing might have been a more familiar name at the time, but Dakota Staton was riding high on the success of her previous album, The Late, Late Show. Its title track had risen near the top of the charts, and the young, classically-trained Pittsburgh native was a rising star on the New York jazz scene, leading Capitol Records to pair her up with Shearing.

After her marriage to trumpeter Talib Ahmad Dawud, Staton converted to Islam and performed as Aliyah Rabia for a while. She later reverted to her original name, and would enjoy many decades of success in both jazz and R&B music, although she did have her share of ups and downs. Even though she was often compared to Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and others, she never able to reach real stardom. She died of natural causes in 2007.

Dakota Staton – “The Late, Late Show”