Various Artists

I Got Rhythm: The Music of George Gershwin

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This wide-ranging four-CD set has performances of George Gershwin's music divided into four categories: Popular Song, Stage and Screen, Concert Hall, and Jazz. The 71 recordings range from fairly straight Broadway singers to classical music, jazz, and several piano solos from Gershwin himself. The beauty of this collection as it has been assembled by producer Dwight Blocker Bowers is that it goes into so many far-flung corners of the composer's work and output -- not only into the work of familiar names such as Ethel Waters, Jo Stafford, Bing Crosby, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, Tony Bennett, and Linda Ronstadt in the popular song category, but also such less-well-known but important names as Johnny Marvin; and, in the "On Stage and Screen" volume, notable recordings by Irene Bordoni ("I Won't Say I Will"), Heather Thatcher ("Boy Wanted"), and Tessa Kosta ("Song of the Flame"), and revelations such as Cliff Edwards' amazing rendition of "Fascinating Rhythm." Gershwin himself dominates the "Concert Hall" volume as a performing artist, augmented by the presence of Leonard Pennario on the "Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra," and the Juilliard String Quartet on the "Lullaby for String Quartet." Although not all of the music is of equal interest, there are enough rarities included to interest even veteran collectors and the 64-page booklet is quite appealing, and the producers have also done an excellent job of cleaning up and improving certain technically deficient historical recordings, such as Thatcher's rendition of "Boy Wanted," from a 1921 acoustically recorded cast production; additionally, they have reached out to the licensing of actual film soundtrack excerpts, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, to represent such works as "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," from Shall We Dance. One could easily do double- or triple-CD sets devoted to the jazz, popular, and theatrical aspects of Gershwin's work, but as an overview of all of them within manageable boundaries, this is a well-conceived and successful reissue of valuable music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:35
2 2:52
3 3:03
4 3:15
5 3:25
6 2:46
7 2:48
8 3:00
9 3:19
10 2:48
11 2:44
12 3:11
13 3:09
14 2:20
15 3:52
16 3:17
17 2:43
18 2:12
19 3:02
20 2:40
21 4:24
22 3:25

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 2:58
3 2:52
4 2:46
5 3:18
6 3:03
7 3:32
8 2:57
9 4:08
10 3:48
11 2:42
12 5:00
13 3:06
14 3:00
15 1:53
16 4:32
17 2:36
18 2:51
19 2:55
20 5:05
21 1:34
22 7:32

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:20
2 2:48
3 2:54
4 3:05
5 2:49
6 3:25
7 2:48
8 3:08
9 2:40
10 3:02
11 2:56
12 3:33
13 3:46
14 6:50
15 3:21
16 4:36
17 12:02
18 7:48
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