There's no one on earth who can tell a story in song better than Shirley Horn, who can turn the quietest whisper into a powerful narrative moment, and in this CD, in which she sings about the many aspects of love, she is brilliant. Recorded in 1990, this was her first #1 jazz album in a career which she had postponed from the early sixties till late seventies, while she was bringing up her children. Always one of Miles Davis's favorite singers, she invites him here as a guest soloist.
Horn is a complete musician, and on this CD, she has planned every aspect of the recording. Having done all the arrangements and selected each soloist for his specific talents on specific songs, she ensures that the totality is exactly the interpretation she has in mind. Miles Davis is guest soloist on the title song, "You Won't Forget Me," Wynton Marsalis guests on "Don't Let the Sun Catch Me Crying," Toots Thielemans makes the harmonica a dramatically emotional instrument in "Beautiful Love," Branford Marsalis's sax complements her range and voice on "It Had to Be You," and Buck Hill and Horn become a musical unit on "Foolin' Myself."
Horn takes as much time as she needs for her interpretations throughout the recording. Paying no heed to the common length of CD tracks, she ranges here from almost nine minutes on the wonderful "If You Go" to less than two and a half minutes on "I Just Found Out About Love," which is upbeat, celebratory, and loud, with a strong drum base. Her selections vary from the quiet and dramatic "The Music That Makes Me Dance," in which she uses pauses and silence to emphasize the lyrics--"HIS is the only music that makes me dance,"--to the bluesy "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin,'" with Wynton Marsalis--"You done me dirty now, and I just don't want you no more." "Soothe Me," with Toots Thielemans is vampy and sexy, giving new meaning to "soothe me...mellow me way down inside."
Mature, confident, and relaxed, Horn creates moods, plays with the rhythm and timing (especially noticeable on "You Stepped Out of a Dream), sets her piano and Davis's trumpet off against the metronome-like beat of the drum in "You Won't Forget Me," and ends triumphantly in "All My Tomorrows," in which she declares that all her dreams of a bright tomorrow may come true. A total musician, Horn uses her voice, her piano, and her vision to create one of the classic jazz albums of all time. n Mary Whipple