Q - 11/03, p.1134 stars out of 5
- "...Horn remains one of jazz's great song interpreters....Remarkable..."
CMJ - 6/30/03, p.31
"...Singer Shirley Horn has a way of unhurriedly working through ballads, using comfortable silences as innuendo..."
JazzTimes - 8/03, p.118
"...Shimmeringly transcendent....There's a wry smile in her voice as she navigates a choppy sub-current of surviving. Nowhere is this more masterfully evident than on Paul McCartney's 'Yesterday'..."
Personnel: Shirley Horn (vocals); George Masterhazy (piano); Ed Howard (bass); Steve Williams (drums).
Additional personnel: Roy Hargrove (flugelhorn); Ahmad Jamal (piano).
Recorded at The Hit Factory, New York, New York on February 3-5, 2003. Includes liner notes by Stanley Crouch.
MAY THE MUSIC NEVER END was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Personnel: Shirley Horn (vocals); Roy Hargrove (flugelhorn); George Mesterhazy, Ahmad Jamal (piano); Steve "Syco Steve" Williams (drums).
Audio Mixers: David Baker ; Brian Montgomery.
Liner Note Author: Stanley Crouch.
Recording information: the Hit Factory, NY (02/03/2003-02/05/2003).
Photographer: Larry Busacca.
It is difficult to predict the effect that age will have on the voice of a jazz singer. For some it wears away agility and timbre, but for others it can sweeten, deepen, and weather their instrument in the best way. Fortunately, Shirley Horn falls into the latter category. MAY THE MUSIC NEVER END continues Horn's excellent string of records for Verve, with more of what her fans have come to expect: spare, low-key, late-night ballads brushed and teased by the singer's textured voice.
Horn's soulful delivery and spot-on phrasing spin romantic/melancholic atmospheres on tracks like "If You Go Away" and the breathy, extended and totally heartrending version of "Ill Wind." Pianist Ahmad Jahmal trades subtle touches of phrase with Horn on the lilting "Maybe September," Roy Hargrove's trumpet is showcased on the finger-snapping "Take Love Easy," and Horn herself reclaims the spotlight during a great tempo change-up in "Everything Must Change." But it is the album's title track closer, a duet between Horn and pianist George Mesterhazy, so achingly lovely and poignant that it's likely to break you up on first listen, that demonstrates Horn's true achievement: the total expression of humanity through music. Recommended.