George Gershwin wrote so many standards during his shortened life that his music has been recorded by a vast variety of singers. This 1998 reissue CD has 18 different vocalists interpreting Gershwin tunes, recorded during a 30-year period and programmed loosely in chronological order. The swing era is represented by the first seven records, which feature Fred Astaire, Billie Holiday ("Summertime"), Helen Forrest (with Benny Goodman), Helen Ward (with Teddy Wilson), Mildred Bailey, Woody Herman ("Somebody Loves Me" in 1947 with his Four Chips) and Lee Wiley ("I've Got a Crush On You"). The other Gershwin tunes are performed by a variety of mostly middle-of-the-road pop singers with a few departures: Dorothy Kirsten, Mary Martin (a bombastic "I Got Rhythm"), Jo Stafford, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, George Benson ("A Foggy Day"), Mel Torme, Andy Williams, Judy Garland (an over-the-top version of "Swanee") and Tony Bennett. Overall, this hodge-podge CD is more highly recommended to listeners who want to hear straightforward readings of George Gershwin tunes than to completists or jazz fans.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow