Shirley Horn Sings and Plays Here's to Life

The most stylish pianist-singer working today, Shirley Horn achieves near-perfection headlining a combo of bass, drums, and an occasional guest soloist. Using her voice as a third hand, she doesn’t so much sing as suggest melodies, slowly and minimally outlining them in a way that can’t help but draw in the listener. Though she lacks strong chops and a wide emotional palette, it’s hard to resist her mesmerizing intimacy and the oblique mystery of what she leaves unsung. Both the string section on her current CD (lovely as Johnny Mandel’s arrangements are) and the camera crew on Shirley Horn Sings and Plays Here’s to Life labor hard not to intrude on the intense rapport between performer and audience. Mostly they succeed. A-

Shirley Horn Sings and Plays Here's to Life
  • Movie