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Shirley Horn was a genius of melding lyrics into elongated elegant elusive phrases while playing piano voicing’s that surprised our ears and hearts and astounded our intellect. The vocal quartet blends and beautifies the lyric; while Jimmy Cobb’s subtle swing takes the rhythm section upwards into the stars.
A Thousand Songs
A Tribute to Shirley Horn
Music by Ron Di Salvio
Heard a thousand songs sung sweetly,
By a bird in early spring,
Oh no, that was Shirley Horn, our Queen.
Play those chords for me, magically,
Make me laugh, make me cry,
Bring a tear, bring a sigh,
Your song will never sleep, always ours to keep,
Love with tenderness,
Sweet sorrow, such soft emotion.
Where are you now?
Swinging on a star in the sky up above?
Shirley sway, Shirley play,
As night turns to day on the Earth.
Trumpet call in space,
Harmony with grace,
Lush songs, ethereal.
Is it Shirley’s own song left behind unsung?
Her words won’t gather dust or darkness.
Where are you Shirley Horn?
Please sing your song once more.
Note: It was a cold rust colored fall day in October, 2005 when I heard about
Shirley Horn’s passing. I went to bed that night and was awakened by the
sound of her voice, it was three AM. I went down to my piano and by eight AM
this was the song that I had written. Shirley was a most unique singer, with an
incredible way of phrasing, putting stress on certain words and letting others
vanish into thin air. Her chord voicing’s mesmerized, astounded and
confounded theorists. She shared her inner soul with us in songs like “Here’s
to Life and “You Won’t Forget Me.” Here’s to Shirley Horn, Our Queen!