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George Shearing

8.13.19 – 2.14.11

George Shearing

The first time I heard George Shearing I was four years old. I lived with my parents at 4000 South Prescott Street in Memphis, Tennessee. My father, Marvin Wolff, was a physician, and an amateur musician with perfect pitch. He played piano, clarinet, and recorder. He was raised in Indianola, Mississippi, where B.B. King, Albert King, and Muddy Waters all grew up. He grew up listening to the delta blues, picking cotton in the summers, and sneaking into concerts by Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

We used to sit in a small room that contained his record player, and he would play me records by his favorite musicians. At that time his favorites were Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, and George Shearing. I learned to recognize each of these musicians’ music, and always referred to Shearing and Charles as “the blind guys.” I was say to my father, “Play me the blind guys, Dad.”

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