Gershwin Reimagined: An American in London

Shelly Berg / José Serebrier / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

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Gershwin Reimagined: An American in London Review

by James Manheim

As the title suggests, this not an album of George Gershwin's music, but one that uses it as the stimulus for further creative activity. The key figure is American jazz pianist Shelly Berg, a professor at the University of Miami. Taking Gershwin's music as a starting point, he and his group adorn it with what he calls trio jazz variations. You can sample around the Rhapsody in Blue to get the effect. This involves a certain amount of re-orchestration, most of which is by Berg himself. The orchestrations of the Three Preludes for piano are by the Uruguayan conductor José Serebrier, who leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra here, and whose presence will be a draw for many traditional listeners. The album is aimed squarely at listeners with an experimental cast of mind, who have had little to choose from when it comes to Gershwin.

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