Shirley Horn (Verve)
Full of real warmth and obvious admiration, singer-pianist Horn’s latest album is more informed than the usual tribute. Horn knew Davis well; he had encouraged her to move to New York City from her native Washington, and they often performed together before Davis’s death in 1991. Their cerebral, methodical approach to jazz was also similar. The nine songs on this album were all associated with the trumpeter, and Horn even uses Davis’s longtime bassist, Ron Carter, and his drummer, Al Foster, to supplement her own rhythm section. But she is clearly the star of this project. Her thoughtful, deliberate approach to “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home” almost makes it seem like a whole new song. She draws all the possible emotion out of “My Funny Valentine,” and she even dredges up the old “Basin St. Blues” without making it seem like a cliché. Horn’s ability to mold her voice to a melody evokes Davis’s similar skills on trumpet, even as she generates a most entertaining album that’s all her own.
Bottom Line: We should all be remembered this artfully