Saturday, 22 February 2014

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin is celebrated



Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin is celebrated

A bit later than planned thanks to the two previous exciting news items, this event had in any case already taken place by the time it came to my attention but I still think it deserves mention here as another splendid example of 1920s jazz performed for a new generation.

Pre-eminent modern bandleader and jazz music revivalist (what a great term!) Vince Giordano - who has previously featured a couple of times on this blog - and his Nighthawks band recently took the opportunity to mark the 90th anniversary of the first performance of George Gershwin's composition Rhapsody in Blue.  Originally debuted by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, with Gershwin himself at the piano, on the 12th February 1924 the piece was performed once again by Mr Giordano and the Nighthawks (doubled from the band's usual 11 musicians to 22 - just as Paul Whiteman did - plus a special guest conductor) at the Manhattan Town Hall - 90 years later to the day.  



Brooklyn 'Jazz Age’ revivalist Giordano to recreate 'Rhapsody in Blue’ concert

As well as this recreated version of Rhapsody in Blue Giordano and his band also played some of their standard set pieces and the whole event sounds like it was an absolute hoot - the perfect way to mark such a musical milestone.  It is always splendid to see that this early jazz music is still appreciated and enjoyed - hopefully sparking the enthusiasm of a new generation.  With this performance and others in films like The Great Gatsby and Manhattan, plus a possible biopic in the works, the Jazz Age as epitomised by George Gershwin seems to show no signs of being forgotten - and a jolly good thing too!

1 comment:

  1. I've got a recording of Whiteman playing Rhapsody in Blue. It really is a fantastic piece of music. Roll on the new Jazz Age! (Not an electroswing age - I've tried to like it, really I have, but it seems like the music I like with all the soul socked out and the annoying bits of noughties music shoehorned in...)

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