Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


George GERSHWIN The Piano Rolls; Vol 2. NONESUCH 7559-79370-2 [42:05]    


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Havanola/Hugo Frey; Singin' the Blues (Till My Daddy Comes Home)/Con Conrad and J Russel Robinson; From Now On /George Gershwin; Jazz-O-Mine/Harry Akst; Just Snap Your Fingers at Care/Louis Silvers; Whip-Poor-Will/Jerome Kern; Rialto Ripples/George Gershwin; Waitin' for Me/ Pinkard; Buzzin' the Bee/ Pete Wendling and Jack Wells; Darling/ Chris Schonberg; For Your Country and My Country/Irving Berlin; Kangaroo Hop /Melville Morris; Passtime Rag No.3/Artie Matthews; Chinese Blues /Oscar Gardner; Whispering/John Schonberger; Arrah Go On I'm Gonna Back to Oregon/ Bert Grant.

Readers may remember that I reviewed Volume I of the Nonesuch recordings based on Gershwin's performances captured on paper - the piano rolls. Just to recap from last month's review about the way this was done:-

"The coded information on Gershwin's piano rolls has been converted to computer floppy discs for use in playback on a 9-foot Yamaha Disklavier. This is an oversimplification of the technical feat which is fully explained in the very thorough booklet notes. The Disklavier piano is a high-quality full-sized concert grand which produces a most impressive richness of sound and dynamic range which until now has been unusual for piano rolls recorded for CDs."

This volume is mostly made up of material written by others However this should not deter Gerswhin fans from experiencing the sheer dazzle and dexterity, the sparking virtuosity and vivacity of Gershwin's readings and the sophisticated harmonisations of the tunes. Take for example the way Chinese/impressionist riffs break into"Just Snap your Fingers..." and how he evokes the received notion of the "mysterious East" in "Chinese Blues." The recordings date from January 1916 to 1920. One of the earliest inclusions is Gershwin's own "Rialto Ripples" which was Gershwin's first published instrumental. While all the tunes are pleasant - jazz and rag orientated - many will probably be unfamiliar; perhaps the best known tune here is "Whispering" Paul Whiteman's hit of 1920; Gershwin wraps an intricate web of Spanish rhythm around this old favourite. This fascinating album needs no recommendation to Gershwin fans. Enjoy

Ian Lace

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