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Rhapsody In Blue, and Oh, Kay!

Donald Macleod explores the story of George Gershwin's iconic Rhapsody In Blue, and presents excerpts from Oh, Kay!

Gershwin's meteoric progress in the mid 1920s was cemented by the extraordinary and much-loved "Rhapsody In Blue", commissioned by the so-called "King Of Jazz", dance hall bandleader Paul Whiteman. But is it really jazz?

Donald Macleod presents the piece in its rarely-heard original orchestration for jazz band and solo piano, with a solo part performed by none other than George Gershwin himself - reproduced in a pioneering recording through the medium of piano roll.

He also looks at the love of Gershwin's life, the composer and lyricist Kay Swift - and presents two very different arrangements of the Gershwins' hit song "'s Wonderful" by Sarah Vaughan and Andre Previn and David Finck.

1 hour

Music Played

  • George Gershwin

    Medley of Rhapsody in Blue opening bar

    Performer: George Gershwin (piano, from 1925 piano roll recording), The Columbia Jazz Band, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

    • CBS: CD42240.
    • 1.
  • George Gershwin

    Rhapsody In Blue

    Performer: George Gershwin (piano, from 1925 piano roll recording), The Columbia Jazz Band, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

    • CBS:CD42240.
    • 1.
  • George Gershwin

    Oh Kay! (1926) (Act 1 excerpt)

    Performer: Kay - Dawn Upshaw, The Duke - Robert Westenberg, Larry Potter – Patrick Cassidy, Shorty McGree - Adam Arkin, Phillipa Ruxton - Liz Larsen, Dolly Ruxton - Stacey A Logan, Jimmy Winter - Kurt Ollman, Orchestra Of St Luke’s, Eric Stern (conductor)

    • IMP:3036600052.
    • 16.
  • George Gershwin

    S Wonderful(from Funny Face 1927)

    Performer: Sarah Vaughan (vocals), The Hugo Peretti Orchestra

    • EMARCY:8468952.
    • 14.
  • George Gershwin

    S Wonderful(from Funny Face 1927)

    Performer: André Previn (piano), David Finck (double bass)

    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON:4534932.
    • 14.
  • George Gershwin

    Medley of Rhapsody in Blue opening bar

    Performer: George Gershwin (piano, from 1925 piano roll recording), The Columbia Jazz Band, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

    • CBS: CD42240.
    • 1.
  • George Gershwin

    Rhapsody In Blue

    Performer: George Gershwin (piano, from 1925 piano roll recording), The Columbia Jazz Band, Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

    • CBS:CD42240.
    • 1.
  • George Gershwin

    Oh Kay! (1926) (Act 1 excerpt)

    Performer: Kay - Dawn Upshaw, The Duke - Robert Westenberg, Larry Potter – Patrick Cassidy, Shorty McGree - Adam Arkin, Phillipa Ruxton - Liz Larsen, Dolly Ruxton - Stacey A Logan, Jimmy Winter - Kurt Ollman, Orchestra Of St Luke’s, Eric Stern (conductor)

    • IMP:3036600052.
    • 16.
  • George Gershwin

    S Wonderful(from Funny Face 1927)

    Performer: Sarah Vaughan (vocals), The Hugo Peretti Orchestra

    • EMARCY:8468952.
    • 14.
  • George Gershwin

    S Wonderful(from Funny Face 1927)

    Performer: André Previn (piano), David Finck (double bass)

    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON:4534932.
    • 14.

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