George Shearing was born to working class parents in London, England in August 1919. The youngest of nine children, Shearing was blind from birth. He began playing piano at the age of three and the extent of his formal musical training were the four years spent at the Linden Lodge School For The Blind.
At the age of 16, Shearing was playing at a London pub for "25 bob a week" (which is the equivalent of working for $2.00 a week today). But Shearing loved to play and had a great ear for jazz and classical music. Shearing met Jazz producer and historian Leonard Feather and soon thereafter, in 1937, began appearing on radio and recording. By 1940, Shearing had joined popular bandleader Harry Parry and was working several projects on the side, including a stretch with Stephane Grappelli, as the exiled violinist made his comeback. In the decade, Shearing was to win 7 consecutive Melody Maker polls.
In 1978, Shearing stopped performing and recording with the quintet for the most part. Feeling he'd done about all he could in that form, Shearing felt that performing solo (or with only bass accompaniment) would allow him room to breathe, creatively--it gave him what he called "pianistic freedom". In 1983 and 1984, a pair of successive album collaborations with Mel Torme received Grammy Awards. In 2004, "Lullaby of Birdland: The Autobiography of George Shearing" was published. That same year, Shearing suffered a fall and all but ceased performing publicly thereafter. In 2007, Shearing was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
An early Christmas track, "Snowfall" recorded with Billy May, was included on the out-of-print 1960 Capitol LP "The Shearing Touch". A 1970 recording of "Let It Snow" appears on the album "Out Of This World" (issued on CD in 2000 by Koch). A quartet version of "Away In A Manger" was included in the 1994 compilation "Santa's Bag" and, in 2002, Shearing recorded "Sleigh Ride" for the Mack Avenue comp, "Jazz Yule Love". Beyond that, there are a scattering of recordings that could be used in a seasonal context, such as "Heart Of Winter", "Moonlight In Vermont", and the ever controversial "My Favorite Things".
But, honestly, "Christmas" is such an exquisite album that there's no real need to search beyond. It's a solid listen at any time of year. Make sure you have a copy in your Christmas library.