In 1932 George Gershwin published variations of 18 of his songs, turning some of his classics into more challenging workouts. Sixty years later Dick Hyman recorded the 18 pieces in two versions apiece: first a brief and straight rendition of the original sheet music and then his own versions, based partly on Gershwin's 1932 songbook. It would have been interesting to hear Hyman actually perform Gershwin's varitions, for one can only guess how much of his own improvisations are taken from the composer's embellishments. In general the flavor of Gershwin is quite strong throughout this date but Hyman does feel free to insert some obvious departures such as his hot stride on "Fascinating Rhythm," a bit of Tatum and Tristano on "Strike up the Band," hints of Bix on "Do, Do, Do" and some Errol Garnerisms on "Clap Yo' Hands." Although a tad gimmicky, this CD does have its fascinating moments and plenty of typically brilliant playing from Dick Hyman.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow