Carl Gorham: ‘Shear Brass: Celebrating Sir George Shearing’

music jazz

The remarkable legacy of Sir George Shearing is being honored in a series of concerts that go alongside the release of a joyous new album called Shear Brass: Celebrating Sir George Shearing (Ubuntu Music, release date 1 September 2023), organized by and featuring his great-nephew Carl Gorham, the drummer on all 11 tracks.

A Trailblazer in Music

Londoner George Shearing was a genuine trailblazer. When he moved to America after World War Two, he became the first British jazz pianist to make an international impact. His compositions, including ‘Midnight Mood’, ‘Conception’, and ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, became revered standards.

Gorham explains in an interview for London Jazz the challenges Shearing faced in the United States and how he had to face down prejudice from nightclub owners. Shearing, born on 13 August 1919 in Battersea, eventually won over the club owners and made his own seismic impact on the world of music.

London Roots and Collaborations

Shearing remained proud of his London roots, where he met his first wife, Trixie Bayes, and formed lifelong friendships, including with French violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Gorham is a fan of their pre-war collaborations.

On the Shear Brass album, piano duties are shared between James Pearson and Simon Wallace. The album also features a cast of stellar musicians, whose CVs collectively involve serious sidemen chops, including work with Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, and Art Farmer.

Shear Brass Concerts and Album Promotion

The album will be promoted in September gigs at the Auden Theatre, Holt, Norfolk (5th), The Stables, Milton Keynes (7th), with the album launch at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London (10th).

Gorham says he is “hugely proud” that his daughter Romy Sipek is the vocalist on a smashing version of ‘Lullaby of Birdland’.

As well as presenting other fine Shearing works like ‘From Rags to Richards’, ‘The Fourth Deuce’, and ‘Children’s Waltz’, the live concerts promoting the album will also tell the story of Shearing’s astonishing life.

A Documentary in the Works

Shearing’s life story seems ripe for a documentary, and Gorham is working on this project. The aim is to make the documentary personal and impressionistic, as well as factual, and pay homage to George’s extraordinary rags-to-riches story.

The arrangements on the Shear Brass album, produced by Derek Nash, bring a modernity to Shearing’s classic tunes that make them “sound fresh and exciting,” according to Gorham.

Shear Brass is a timely reminder of one of Britain’s greatest musical exports. And as Gorham rightly points out, “The name Shearing remains a great draw”.

Shear Brass: Celebrating Sir George Shearing is released on Ubuntu Music on Friday 1 September 2023.

Live Shear Brass Concerts:

  • Tuesday 5 September – Auden Theatre, Holt, Norfolk
  • Thursday 7 September – The Stables, Milton Keynes
  • Sunday 10 September – Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London (album launch)

Ubuntu Music
Carl Gorham’s website

About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.