George Shearing – The Legacy Behind This Blind Jazz Pianist

George Shearing
George Shearing

Being blind from birth often stalls the progress of people who don’t find the right means and ways to focus on their abilities. However, the fact is that blind or hearing impaired people often have heightened senses in other areas that when focus on can contribute to the greatness that others would never be able to achieve. The same goes for the story about George Shearing. Hailing from Britain, he was a blind musician who has never known the ability to be able to see. He is known to be one of the coolest jazz musicians who was a music icon in the jazz genre of music. George has come to be known as a legend in the US and is part of a small club of elite musicians like Acker Bilk, Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and John McLaughlin. He immigrated to the USA in the year 1947 and shot to fame much before his counterparts. He put together a quintet who were a band to produce some unique sound combinations with a vibraphone, bass, guitar, drums and a piano. The speciality of the band was that they used bebop along with Latin, swing and classical music to introduce a new era of music to the world.

Rising Through the 40s and 50s

During the 40s and into the 50s, George grew to fame for his sophistication in the jazz genre. Coming from an ordinary working-class family in Britain, the icon was known for his contribution to the music industry. George was born in 1919, on August 12th and to parents who were working in the coal delivery and the cleaning industry. Hailing from the south-west of London in Battersea. He was drawn to the sounds of music right from a very young age and loved the vibrations he could feel when music was played. His parents had a piano that made music accessible to young Shearing at all times.

Shearing loved his piano with all his heart and spent hours stoking the keys and making music from that he was able to memorize quickly. By the age of 5, he started lessons and soon he was able to replicate what he heard on the radio. Growing in a humble household, his parents were strived to give young Shearing everything he could to enhance his abilities. He studies at the Linden College of music for the blind and stayed there till he turned sixteen. At sixteen he got his first job at a pub where he played the piano and performed as a teenager. He also put together a band in his teens that consisted of all blind musicians. The first sounds of professional musicians that the world heard of Shearing were through his first recording in ‘37. He was greatly influenced by iconic musicians in the US and found inspiration in their music. His music albums were a bit hit right from the start and sold over a million copies in the first year of release. An autobiography of his music career later, the iconic musician is today known to be the most celebrated jazz musician from Britain who gives hope to the blind.