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George Shearing - The Many Facets Of George Shearing

    It was in April 1976 when George, Andy Simpkins, and I were on an airplane heading for Germany. George and Andy were to record this album in the town of Villingen in the Black Forest. Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, the producer, along with Willi Fruth, his recording director, were to be in charge.

   We had heard about this recording studio from Oscar Peterson and Gene Puerling, the best choral arranger in the business. Gene also sang with the Hi-Los and Singers Unlimited and they, too, had recorded for Hans Georg in his private studio on his estate in Villingen. They had all raved about this venue e a one-of-a-kind, nothing-like-it-anywhere place both in and out of the recording studio.

   The day after our arrival, we were invited to the Brunner-Schwer estate, where the studio was located. The whole family was waiting for us at the front door.... along with Klapsli, the personality-plus French poodle that took an immediate liking to us. And we felt the same about our two-footed and four-footed hosts!

   Our first shock was when we found ourselves strolling through a beautiful flower garden just behind the main house. George, of course, caught the scents of the flowers immediately. The riot of color was absolutely hypnotic. We soon learned that this wonderful patch was the pride and joy of Marlies BrunnerSchwer, the lovely wife of Hans Georg.

   Just beyond the flowers was yet another garden... this time a huge array of all kinds of vegetables. Little did we know that we would be enjoying these same vegetables at meals throughout the four or five days of recording. We began to understand just what we had been told by the others who had come here to make music.

   As we entered the studio, Hans Georg pointed out the little refrigerator that held the wine, beer, soft drinks and water. Freshly-made coffee would he at the ready for all during breaks along with home-made German delights.

  Although not large, both the Control Room and Studio were comfortable and housed top-of-the-line recording equipment. Hans Georg sat at the controls with Willi beside him along with Andreas, the delightful college-aged BrunnerSchwer, who spoke perfect English and was indispensable in translating English-to-German or German-to-English whenever it was needed.

   A typical day of recording started at 10:00 am. While the recording was going on in the studio, Marlies and her staff were preparing lunch for us. It was served in the family dining room at around 1:00 on a table laid with white linen. The food that came out of the kitchen was one masterpiece after another! While we enjoyed the food and fellowship in the dining room, the piano tuner was busy in the studio making sure that all was right with George's instrument.

   The afternoon session ended just before dinnertime. We all gathered to enjoy the superb meals. One evening it was venison that had hung to age in the basement for weeks and was prepared with those vegetables fresh from the garden. Then there were the glorious German wines with each course that followed. After coffee was served, we made our way into the living room to listen to the playback of the day's recording. George settled into a leather chair that reclined directly in front of the large speakers. The rest of us were made comfortable elsewhere nearby.... perhaps with an after-dinner drink within reach! Even Klapsli, George's four-tooted fan, had his place.... lying on his back across George's lap with head and paws drooping on either side!

   I tell you all this so that you will know why George was so happy while making this album. His greatest wish would be for you to enjoy listening to it as much as he enjoyed recording it.

As the Brunner-Schwers would have said, "Jetzt Alles ist in Ordnung" "Now everything is in order!"

- Ellie Shearing

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