Since I posted the piece below a few days ago, I have received an amazing (surprising) number of comments, questions, and a few other anecdotes. Thank you.
I don’t know of any piano duo albums of Shearing. However, to get a taste of his voice, his humor, and joy for the music (in a more personal sense than from his CD’s and the various You Tube videos), I can suggest this link to one of Shearing’s interviews on NPR’s piano jazz with Marian McPartland. He is not quite as loose as he was on the day I saw him in San Francisco, but he gets close as he and Marian toy with “God Save the Queen,” especially when he gives a hoot when Marian tries her hand at it.
For those of you time challenged (I’m referring to those of you with busy schedules, not drummers), here are a couple of points of interest. At about 17 minutes into the interview, he and Marian perform a duet (I’ve Got You Under My Skin), which gives you a glimpse of the way he could ( and would frequently) weave classical into a standard. But at 50:45, Marian thanks Shearing for being on the show and then they break into a version of “Indiana.” Listen carefully (he’s the piano on the right speaker/headphone), and you hear her sigh as they kick it off, frequent laughter behind the music and again at the end of the tune.
That’s the spirit and swing of what I had the unbelievable good fortune to hear up close a few lifetimes ago in that room in San Francisco. A musical frolic, and, by George, I’m grinning all over again.