Best Concert Of The Past Twelve Months

An evening of exquisite understatement began when pianist-vocalist Shirley Horn took the stage at the Coral Gables Congregational Church and caressed the keyboard as she hadn't in Miami since the late Eighties. Joined by drummer Steve Williams and bassist Charles Ables, the 66-year-old Horn was touring in support of her album I Remember Miles. The Miles mentioned in the title was trumpet titan Miles Davis, who 40 years earlier had heard her album Embers and Ashes and lured Horn from her Washington, D.C., home to New York City. Subsequently she often opened for him at the Village Vanguard and carved out a career, which she relinquished a few years later for motherhood. Her piano chops remained, however, and when she and Davis reunited for her 1990 album You Won't Forget Me, it was as if they had never left each other's side. Even without her friend Miles, who has been gone for nine years, Horn proved that night in Coral Gables she could still astonish with her elegant piano styling, velvet voice, and serene presence. As she closed the show with a relaxed rendition of Butler and Molinary's wistful ode "Here's to Life," the awestruck audience realized at that very moment that life couldn't be any better.


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