May The Music Never End: Shirley Horn dies

One of the last of the classic jazz singers and a particular favourite of Miles Davis', Shirley Horn, has died aged 71. It took some time for her career to develop and was not until the latter years of her life that she gained the winder international respect she deserved. Born in Washington she began piano lessons at the age of five and completed her educated at Howard University with a degree in music. While a student she began to sing at the Merryland Club and later in 1954 formed her own trio, working extensively at this time in the Washington and Baltimore area. In 1960, she recorded her first album, Embers And Ashes which was heard by Miles Davis, who booked her to open for him in New York during a stint at the Village Vanguard. As a result of the exposure she was signed to Mercury Records and produced some records for the label with arrangements by Quincy Jones. After marrying she gave birth to a daughter and her career became more low profile, confined to gigs in and around her home area. But in the late 1970s she recorded three albums for the Danish label Steeplechase which reignited her career and more was to follow with her signing to Verve records in the mid 80s for which she recorded many albums often accompanied by bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams. After Miles Davis' death in 1991 she recorded what was for many the highlight of her career, the Grammy-winning I Remember Miles, with Roy Hargrove playing trumpet and an appearance by the harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans. Shirley Horn suffered ill health in recent years and became a diabetic. She recorded her last album for Verve, May The Music Never End, in 2003.