American Rhapsody: Gershwin, Arlen & the Blues

American Rhapsody: Gershwin, Arlen & the Blues at the 92nd Street Y July 28, 2016 is a concert of classic theater tunes by George Gershwin and Harold Arlen.

About American Rhapsody: Gershwin, Arlen & the Blues

Don’t miss this concert if you like the songs “Lady Be Good,” “Stormy Weather” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Dick Hyman and Bill Charlap are performing a duo piano interpretation of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

The full line up is Bill Charlap and Dick Hyman on piano. The front line is Randy Sandke on trumpet, Ken Peplowski on clarinet & tenor sax, Jon Gordon on alto sax, and Michael Dease on trombone. The rhythm section is Peter Washington on bass and Willie Jones III on drums.

George Gershwin

George Gershwin (Brooklyn, NY 1898 – Los Angeles, 1937) was one of the great American composers. Gershwin is most famous for his orchestral work “Rhapsody in Blue” (1924) and “An American in Paris” (1928).

Gershwin also wrote the seminal musical “Porgy and Bess” (1934). “Summertime” is a memorable song from this great American folk opera. It is striking how well the Jewish community could understand the African-American community.

Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen (Buffalo, NY 1905 – NYC, 1986) is most famous for composing “Over the Rainbow.” In fact, he wrote all the music for “The Wizard of Oz.” “Over the Rainbow” won an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song in 1938.

Arlen was the son of a Jewish cantor (a prayer singer). He worked in vaudeville and then at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. He began writing for Broadway musicals and then moved to Hollywood to write for the movies.

In California, Arlen teamed up with lyricist Johnny Mercer (the founder of Capitol Records). Together they wrote American Songbook classics like “That Old Black Magic” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Arlen is popular with Jazz artists because he captures that Blues feeling.

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