Jerome Kern

Classic Movie & Show Tunes from Rare Piano Rolls

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Part of the Biograph Records Presents The Great American Composer Series, this short (32 minutes) album consists of eight selections in which piano rolls originally played by Lawrence Cook, Victor Arden, Paul Jouard, and Dick Watson have been newly recorded by using a Steinway Duo-Art Pianola Grand piano. The tunes includ "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "The Way You Look Tonight," and a medley of songs from Show Boat. One is accustomed to hearing Jerome Kern's melodies played in orchestral arrangements and accompanying singers, so these sprightly, if spare performances present a new way to hear the composer and, one presumes, in a style nearly contemporary to their compositions. The disc credits included a brief biography of Kern and a set of lyrics (so you can sing along), but tell nothing about the pianists beyond their names. Since they often embellish the songs in interesting ways, that's a shame.

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