In 1947, Shearing emigrated to the United States, where his
harmonically complex style mixing swing, bop and modern classical
influences gained popularity. One of his first performances in the US
was at the Hickory House. He performed with the Oscar Pettiford Trio
and led a jazz quartet with Buddy DeFranco, In 1949, he formed the
first ‘George Shearing Quintet’, a band with Margie Hyams (vibraphone),
Chuck Wayne (guitar), later replaced by Toots Thielemans (listed as
John Tillman), John Levy (bass) and Denzil Best (drums).
Shearing credited the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s reed section of the late 1930s and early 1940s as an important influence.