Shirley Horn died last night; her daughter called us this morning. We hadn’t seen Shirley since she appeared in Las Vegas at the Johnny Pate 80th Birthday concert and celebration, playing in public for the first time with her then new prosthesis, but earlier this year she called several times, more often than in years past. I wonder now if she knew then how ill she was, but just didn’t say.
I have posted an excerpt from chapter thirteen of “Men, Women, and Girl Singers“ ; John was Shirley’s manager way back when and they remained close friends throughout her life.
When I first heard her, I did not know the full extent of her musical genius. But I did know that she was special. Actually I didn’t even know whose voice I was listening to on the radio in my office. And I was even more intrigued by the sound of the piano accompaniment.
Here is the complete excerpt.