Will Friedwald
June 19, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Shirley Horn Sings and Plays Here's to Life

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Shirley Horn
distributor
PolyGram Home Video
genre
musical

We gave it an A-

The most stylish pianist-singer working today, Shirley Horn achieves near-perfection headlining a combo of bass, drums, and an occasional guest soloist. Using her voice as a third hand, she doesn’t so much sing as suggest melodies, slowly and minimally outlining them in a way that can’t help but draw in the listener. Though she lacks strong chops and a wide emotional palette, it’s hard to resist her mesmerizing intimacy and the oblique mystery of what she leaves unsung. Both the string section on her current CD (lovely as Johnny Mandel’s arrangements are) and the camera crew on Shirley Horn Sings and Plays Here’s to Life labor hard not to intrude on the intense rapport between performer and audience. Mostly they succeed. A-

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