Personnel: Shirley Horn (vocals, piano); Buck Hill (tenor saxophone); Steve Williams (drums).
Liner Note Author: Joel E. Siegel.
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY (11/14/1988-11/16/1988).
Photographers: David Conrad ; Jeffrey Krein.
Unknown Contributor Role: Seth Rothstein.
CLOSE ENOUGH FOR LOVE was the second album that Shirley Horn released on Verve Records in 1989. Her first Verve release, I THOUGHT ABOUT YOU, had proved to be a commercial breakthrough for the singer/pianist, who, after releasing several albums in the early '60s, had limited her appearances to her native Washington DC. In addition to her remarkable rhythm section, Horn also showcases here the considerable talents of tenor saxophonist Buck Hill.
Horn's choice of material is always compelling, and chosen with exquisite taste. Her sultry and smoky vocals are intimate and conversational, relying on oddly metered time and silence rather than volume to make an emotional point. Her masterly chord cluster style of piano playing punctuates her every vocal phrase. When Horn swings, she swings hard, as on "Come Fly With Me" or "Get Out of Town," but her specialty is the ballad; she almost appears to stop time while the music continues to groove in a way that is completely unique and breathtaking. The Jobim tune "Once I Loved," and Eubie Blake's "Memories of You" with Buck Hill's extended solo are fine examples of this technique. This is remarkable work from a remarkable talent.