George Gershwin

The Genius of George Gershwin

(CD - Sounds of Yesteryear #DSOY 741)

Review by

English label Sounds of Yester Year's The Genius of George Gershwin is a two-disc collection of historical recordings of Gershwin's music made between 1918 and 1931, though most of it is concentrated in the years 1926-1928. The first disc, George Gershwin at the Piano, contains many to most of the studio recordings Gershwin made as pianist, although it does not include the recordings he made as accompanist to Fred and Adele Astaire and does include Nat Shilkret's 1929 waxing of An American in Paris, a date to which Gershwin only made a minimal contribution. The second disc is titled The Bands Play George Gershwin, and includes a wide variety of 1920s and early 1930s jazz and dance orchestras playing songs from various Gershwin shows. Many of the groups heard in this part of the collection are English, which sets it apart from similarly themed domestic U.S. collections of this kind. The transfers are very quiet, but a little constricted and below par for such reissues; however, for listeners who cannot bear even the slightest trace of 78 rpm surface noise, such as older relatives, they'll be great. It is an inexpensive collection, and the cheap-looking, generic cover graphic might be a little off-putting to advanced Gershwin collectors; it makes it look like this is a collection of faceless, anonymous orchestrations of Gershwin standards that no one would want. Nevertheless, the inclusion of such gems as the Savoy Orpheans' version of "Fascinating Rhythm" or Nat Shilkret's 1931 take on the Gershwin rarity "Delishus" may well make Sounds of Yester Year's The Genius of George Gershwin desirable, even if one already has the contents of the first disc many times over.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:13
2 02:49
3 03:16
4 03:10
5 02:52
6 02:55
7 03:17
8 02:53
9 03:01
10 02:56
11 03:08
12 02:50
13 03:09
14 02:58
15 02:43
16 03:14
17 03:12
18 03:18
blue highlight denotes track pick