George Gershwin

The Complete Gershwin Songbooks

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The Complete Gershwin Songbooks Review

by John Bush

The Complete Gershwin Songbooks collects three discs also released separately: 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, and 'S Paradise. The first two discs include the greatest vocalists Verve had to offer, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Anita O'Day, Shirley Horn, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Bing Crosby, Joe Williams, Fred Astaire, and even Antonio Carlos Jobim. Obviously, the songs are all classics and the versions presented are quite legendary themselves. The third disc in the set includes instrumental versions of Gershwin standards (by Bill Evans, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Clifford Brown, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson) that focus on the composer's stunning gift of melody and harmonic interplay -- just as the vocalists' versions highlight his lyrical prowess. Not all the versions are definitive, but The Complete Gershwin Songbooks includes many treats for fans of classic traditional pop.

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