Taking a little time away from the bossa nova this week to present music from one of America’s greatest composers, George Gershwin.
These recordings are from the 1993 album Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls, Volume I. It was on heavy rotation at my mother’s house, as I recall. Pianist Artis Wodehouse (who later did the same thing with the piano rolls of Jelly Roll Morton) digitized player piano rolls created by Gershwin himself, added information such as tempo and sound quality, and played the digitized music on a Yamaha Disklavier. The resulting album sold well enough that a second volume was recorded in 1995, but left the music critics underwhelmed at best.
Be that as it may, the recordings are rather good, and we can get some idea as to Gershwin’s virtuosity from them. Many of Gershwin’s original recordings have survived and have been digitally enhanced to increase the fidelity and to clean up the sound from the original 78’s. I’ve linked to those performances for your comparison.
Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
An American In Paris
George Gershwin, your Two for Tuesday, November 19, 2013.