Saturday, October 22, 2005
A GIANT TALENT THE LIKES OF WHICH WE MAY NEVER SEE AGAIN
Shirley Horn, the Grammy-winning singer and pianist whose richly expressive vocal style made her one of the most popular performers in jazz, died Thursday night in Washington, D. C., after a lengthy illness. She was 71. Horn brought a richly layered storytelling quality to everything she sang. She could swing but slow songs were her specialty and her music had a sensuous, sexy quality. Jazz critic Nat Hentoff said very few singers have been so admired by their peers: the musicians who know the business. In 1991, paired with an orchestra for the first time, Horn recorded "Here's to Life," which stayed on the Billboard jazz chart for 15 weeks. Horn once said "Jazz is feeling. It's fire and ice. I want the people in the audience to feel and see the picture I'm trying to paint. I want to be in touch with you and get inside of you." And she did. Critic Don Heckman said "Her cognac-smooth voice" was marvelous and "her capacity to deliver lyrics in utterly believable fashion remains one of the marvels of the vocal world whatever the genre."