Gershwin in Hollywood

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The John Wilson Orchestra
Warner Classics 0825646493739

75-minutes of great tunes from musicals such as ‘Girl Crazy’, ‘Funny Face’, ‘An American in Paris’, ‘Shall We Dance’, and ‘Star!’ with 17 tracks including They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Aren’t You Kind Of Glad You Did?, ‘S Wonderful,  and  For You, For  Me, For Evermore. All but two tracks feature the versatile Louise Dearman and/or Matthew Ford as vocalists and, although they are fine, I would have liked more of the wonderful virtuosic orchestra under their magnetic Gateshead-born maestro playing on their own. I cite the opening number, the Overture to the biopic ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, with  extracts  from George’s first ever hit Swanee, Somebody Loves Me, Fascinating Rhythm, Embraceable  You, Oh Lady, Be Good!, The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm, Rhapsody In Blue itself, and Strike Up the Band.  The whole album was recorded live last November before an enthusiastic audience in London’s Royal Albert Hall. All the music is by George Gershwin, who died disastrously young aged 38; the lyrics are by his older brother Ira. They are among some of the most unforgettable popular compositions of the last century.

Peter Burt
© May 2016

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