Soul Sunday with KNAGUI: Blow My Horn, a Quest to Collect the Music of Shirley Horn

SSwK - Shirley Horn 07I remember the day I was introduced to, in my opinion, the greatest spirit in the world of Jazz Music.  The song was one I’d heard many times over, and at that time, you could hear Chaka Kahn’s voice from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack trumpeting on any given night from someone’s playlist in the dorm-room to cover their satisfying moans.  But nothing compared to the striking of the opening chord and delicate vocal space used to introduced “My Funny Valentine” like this. Who would dare to carefully construct an arrangement using the first phrases of the bridge to invite you into the only other seat of her auditory love boat… Shirley Horn, that’s who.

SSwK - Shirley Horn 05After my friend and amazing vocalist in her own right, Andrea Wallace, introduced me to Ms. Horn, I’ve spent nearly every day with her.  I purchased my own copy of “I Remember Miles” and then many, many more CDs as I drifted from one CD Warehouse to another.  I devoured her music.  Some times I binge, other times I relish each bite, but every time I’m be moved.  Just the other day I was listening and I wanted desperately to be found on a beach… and I HATE the sand!

SSwK - Shirley Horn 03Wiki has a good bio and chronology of her life and her music.  And last year I found a great documentary (actually promo for the Here’s To Life album) on YouTube, but I think it’s been taken down because I can’t find it.  But alas, I came across this:

Early last year I mentioned to The Ladybug that I wanted to start collecting the vinyl recordings of this monumental musical figure in my life.  You won’t believe the overflow of joy I felt when I received this birthday gift from her months later.  And indeed, this gift was the first of my collection.

SSwK - Shirley Horn 01I’ve been an adventure trying to bring Ms. Horn home.  It’s been a slow and calculating process, but she’s coming.

SSwK - Shirley Horn 04My most beloved LP is the one Boss Lady got me, but my most precious acquisition so far is this mono LP of her first recording, Ember and Ashes.  I LOVE mono mixes!!! Think of standing in the middle of a long street, see what’s close and how small things become as they flow into the distance, this is how your ears hear a great mono mix.  The craftsmanship of a linear perspective mix is something that’s lost in this stereophonic “I got the software, so now I have a studio in my house” era.

SSwK - Shirley Horn 06I’ve lost a few albums on eBay, but I’m not discouraged.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will this collection.

I’ve put together a playlist on 8-Tracks to introduce you to my true musical love.  Be careful very when you listen to “The Island.”

See you “next” Sunday.

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