George Shearing Tribute

Music Selections
A Foggy Day: mp3 (30 sec.)
If I Should Lose You: mp3 (30 sec.)


John Toomey, jazz pianist, has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival, as well as clubs such as Blues Alley, the Blue Note, and Birdland. Previously music director and pianist for jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson, with whom he recorded two CDs, John currently performs with Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. John also performs regularly with MaxJazz recording artist Rene Marie and HouseKat recording artists the Uptown Jazz Vocal Quartet.

The John Toomey Trio has been performing in the Hampton Roads area for the past ten years, since John came to this area to serve as Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Old Dominion University.

John has performed in concert with such artists as Clark Terry, Milt Hinton, Frank Foster, Ron Carter, Red Mitchell, Bob Mintzer, John Fedchock, Rick Margitza and Joe Kennedy. He has been designated a cultural specialist in Jazz by the United States Information Agency, and has traveled to Africa in that capacity to represent the United States. John was a finalist in the Jacksonville Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and has written several soundtracks for documentaries airing on the History Channel and the Learning Channel.

Recent releases include “Live at the Jazz Standard” with vocalist Rene Marie, “Smile” with vocalist Lisanne Lyons, and “Refraction,” featuring his trio.


Joe Locke Website:

BiographyGeorge Shearing enjoys an international reputation as a pianist, arranger and composer. Equally at home on the concert stage as in jazz clubs, Shearing is recognized for inventive, orchestrated jazz. He has written over 300 compositions, including the classic “Lullaby of Birdland,” which has become a jazz standard.

Shearing was born in 1919 in the Battersea area of London. Congenitally blind, he was the youngest of nine children. His father delivered coal and his mother cleaned trains at night after caring for the children during the day. His only formal musical education consisted of four years of study at the Linden Lodge School for the Blind. While his talent won him a number of university scholarships, he was forced to refuse them in favor of a more financially productive pursuit… playing piano in a neighborhood pub for the handsome salary of $5 a week! Shearing joined an all-blind band in the 1930’s. At that time he developed a friendship with the noted jazz critic and author, Leonard Feather. Through this contact, he made his first appearance on BBC radio.