Friday, March 13, 2015

Fusion in Music - George Shearing At His Best...

The popular song "My Ship," written by Kurt Weill for the Broadway show "Lady in the Dark," is not generally remembered in our time. It may be the reason that the great pop pianist George Shearing chose it,  in one of his most compelling examples of  the fusion between  the Classics and pop music; a process he promulgated and championed better, arguably, than any other pianist I know of.
In his performance(which is recorded) Shearing begins with "The Engulfed Cathedral" by Debussy, note for note, for a short period. Then Shearing seamlessly causes Weill's tune to appear on the aural  Debussy tapestry - what is essentially as impressive as Shearing's legendary gifts of Fusion , it seems to me, is his choosing of "My Ship," a tune rarely heard. This  can allow the listener, from my view, to be drawn into an even higher sense of the merging of Weill and Debussy, simply due to the state of unfamiliarity of the pop tune. The result can be, especially for the listener who has never heard "My Ship" and has, at best, a partial  conversance with the piano music of Debussy, that the tune was actually  written by Debussy, rather than Weill.
Is that why Shearing chose a tune not generally remembered?
At any rate, this creation by the wonderful British pianist is one of his most important contributions given to the process of  Fusion.
 

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