Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

George GERSHWIN The Authentic Gershwin Vol 4 - The Hollywood Years  Jack Gibbons (piano) ASV CD WHL 2110 [67:55]  


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This is the fourth volume in a series which has won Jack Gibbons and ASV considerable acclaim. Gibbons, described by one critic as "THE Gershwin pianist of our time", specialises in recreations of Gershwin's own piano improvisations, reconstructed note-for-note from Gershwin's original recordings made in the 1920s and 30s. Gibbon's reconstructions have been described by Edward Jablonski (Gershwin's biographer and long-time friend of the Gershwin family) as "exciting and uncanny, a remarkable recreation of Gershwin's unique keyboard style"

Appositely, this 1997 album consists of Gershwin's music for the world of films and in particular for two Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies: Shall We Dance and A Damsel in Distress. From the informative notes, lucidly written by Gibbons himself, we catch a glimpse of Gershwin's genius on the wing for we learn that the now much-recorded piano sketch, "Walking the dog", from Shall We Dance was composed right on the set when Gershwin watched Fred and Ginger walking dogs of all shapes and sizes on the deck of the liner. One of the highlights of Shall We Dance is the elaborate dance-sequence in "They All Laughed" (also included here) which featured four variations beginning with a tongue-in-cheek accompaniment to Fred's pseudo-ballet steps and ending with one of Fred and Ginger's most exhilarating tap sequences. Also included from the film is the haunting "They Can't Take That Away from Me"; while from A Damsel in Distress we have sparkling renditions of: "A Foggy Day (in London Town)" and "Nice Work if You Can Get It" plus the take-off of things English in "The Jolly Tar and the Milkmaid" and the parody of an English madrigal, "Put Me to the Test." Included in this programme of 20 delectable numbers that will raise your spirits and get your feet a-tapping are: Girl Crazy Overture, "Love Walked In" (from The Goldwyn Follies 1937) and the witty send-up of the Viennese tradition - "By Strauss" (The Show is On 1936). Outstanding

Ian Lace

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