Jazz great Shearing dies

BRITISH Jazz pianist Sir George Shearing, who wrote the standard Lullaby of Birdland and headed a famed quintet bearing his name, has died aged 91 in New York.

Dale Sheets, his manager, said the pianist, blind since birth, died of heart failure.

Shearing was already hugely popular in England when he went to the United States in 1947.

The George Shearing Quintet’s first big hit was September in the Rain, in 1949. He wrote Lullaby of Birdland in 1952, naming it for the famous New York jazz club.

Among the luminaries with whom he worked over the years were Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan.

He remained active well into his 80s until he was injured in a fall in his New York home in 2004.

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