Thursday, February 17, 2011


George Shearing has passed on at 91. RIP. Here’s his ravishing version of "Summertime."

On a more peculiar musical note: Yesterday I had to go downtown, where among the usual lunatics, the over- or under-medicated zombies & the Bible ranters, was a rarer bird—as I passed an office courtyard near 1st Ave & Washington, I heard someone singing opera in a rather beautiful voice. When I glanced over, I saw that the vocalist was a middle-aged lady dressed entirely in black—with a veil!—standing at the edge of dancing-waters fountain. She had several pieces of luggage in a travel cart.

I listened for a minute or two, & wanted to give her a buck for her song, but she strolled off down the sidewalk in the opposite direction from me, & anyway she was cleanly, neatly dressed & the luggage was in good condition, so I couldn’t be sure she wasn’t just an eccentric singer just in town to work the Arizona Opera or something. Who knows, maybe she would have appreciated the tip anyway. In any case, it was an incongruously lovely sound to hear in downtown Phoenix.

RIPs also to producer David F. Friedman, departed at 87, & to actor Len Lesser, departed at 88, whose career ranged from Bonanza to The Monkees to The Outlaw Josey Wales, but who is best known as Uncle Leo on Seinfeld. I had lunch with Lesser in Scottsdale some years ago; you can read my resulting New Times interview here.

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