Shearing, Sir George Albert

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Sir George Albert Shearing, 1919–2011, British jazz pianist, b. London. Shearing overcame lifelong blindness to become a world-famous musician, the creator of a style of jazz, and the composer of the jazz standard Lullaby of Birdland (1952) and many other tunes. He began his career as a teenager in London, moving to the United States in 1947. In 1949 he scored an international hit with his recording of September in the Rain. Played by the newly formed George Shearing Quintet, it established the group's singular sound, which combined bebop's complex harmonies with a sophisticated cool. The quintet continued, with shifting personnel, until 1978. From the 1950s on, Shearing also performed classical works. He later formed a piano-bass duo, played solo, and recorded with many of jazz's greatest singers. He was knighted in 2007.

See his autobiography, Lullaby of Birdland (with A. Shipton, 2004).