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The Shadow of Your Smile by George Shearing

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George ShearingHis awards and honors are many.  In May 1975, George Shearing received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.  In May of 1994, Hamilton College in upstate New York awarded him another honorary doctorate in music.  DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana presented him with an honorary doctorate of music on June 1, 2002.  He received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans in 1978 and a community recreational facility in Battersea, south London, was named the George Shearing Centre in his honor.  In May of 1993, he was presented with the British equivalent of the Grammy…the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement.  In June of 1996, Mr. Shearing was included in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List and on November 26, 1996 he was invested by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his “service to music and Anglo-US relations.”  He was presented the first American Music Award by the National Arts Club, New York City, in March of 1998.

In 1999, his 80th birthday was celebrated in England where he played to a sold-out house at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.  Also appearing with him were the BBC Big Band, the strings of the London Symphony, Dame Cleo Laine and John Dankworth.  BBC Radio 2 presented a 2 1/2-hour “Salute to Shearing” in honor of his birthday.

The following year another sold-out house at Carnegie Hall was treated to his birthday celebration featuring the George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson, Dave Brubeck, Dr. Billy Taylor, the John Pizzarelli Trio, Tito Puente and Peter Schickele who brought a special greeting from PDQ Bach!

Mr. Shearing’s biography, “Lullaby of Birdland,” published by Continuum, was released February 2005.  In conjunction with the autobiography release Concord Records released a composite of Shearing recordings in a 2-CD set entitled “Lullabies of Birdland.: A Musical Autobiography”  which was immediately followed up with  “Hopeless Romantics” with Michael Feinstein. Concord then released the collectors set Mel Tormé & George Shearing The Concord Years.  Mr. Shearing’s popularity continues to rise.

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