23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2010
Lincoln Mayorga's somewhat fleet and understated approach to the solo part in "Rhapsody In Blue" might not be to everyone's liking. He plays it as though he were entertaining a smallish audience in a smaller than usual venue. I like it, but I can seen how others might prefer a heavier hand. What is totally irresistible then, is the painstaking job taken in recreating the original Ferde Grofe orchestrations for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (I Got Rhythm Var.; Yankee Doodle Blues; That Certain Feeling; Somebody Loves Me; Sweet & Low-down: I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise; The Man I Love; Fascinating Rhythm; Summertime, etc.). This is just like listening to Gershwin as it was presented in the classic black-and-white films of the 30s and 40s - only in excellent sound (and without the distortion). You might think to yourself, "big deal; Michael Tilson Thomas did the same thing". But these arrangements go a lot farther in recreating that special "ricky-ticky" jazz flavor of the times. Reed player Al Gallodoro assisted conductor Steven Richman in producing the authentic sounds with the correct inflections, etc. He should know - he was there! I love this disc - just don't expect the "Rhapsody" to sound like Earl Wild - who I do like! - with Arthur Fiedler beside him. Instead, put on your dancing shoes and practice your society dance steps.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2010
Steven Richman take his ensemble to that place where classical art meets popular entertainment and navigates smoothly and confidently through those choppy waters. In other words, these are classy performances, performed by technically dextrous musicians, but the end result is pure fun. You might want to dance to Ferde Grofe's takes on Gershwin's tunes, but you find you'd rather listen because the arrangements are just too interesting. Grofe, after all, is the orchestrator responsible for the twenty-six-year-old Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, He was, as they say, "present at the creation." The CD also benefits from a master clarinetist straight from the Gershwin era, the late Al Gallodoro, whose rich sound and whose swinging, seemingly effortless improvisations are on display here. An instructive novelty are two recordings of an early Gershwin song, Yankee Doodle Blues, one is done "straight," the other on an Edison cylinder machine which has been lovingly preserved. But the lion's share of the credit must ultimately go to Richman, whose relaxed tempos allow the tunes to breathe. His love for, and great knowledge of, the era are evident in every aspect of this recording, including the extensive liner notes. Art and entertainment have met on this CD, and the winner is . . . music.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2010
This sparkling new recording is a winner. For anyone who is curious what sounds Gershwin had imagined when writing his "Rhapsody in Blue", this album gives a pretty good idea. Unlike the scratchy 78s of Gershwin's own time, though, here the Jazz Age soundworld is (mercifully) recreated with 21st-century recording techniques. The Rhapsody is preceded by a snappy selection of Broadway tunes delivered with flair and style. Don't miss this magical musical trip down memory lane!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
I own many versions of Rhapsody in Blue but this one is the most electrifying of all. It sizzles with excitement & just when I thought I only liked full orchestra renditions, this one tops them all. The recording is wonderful & arrangements for the balance of the cd are very special. From I Got Rhythm Variations to Somebody Loves Me to Summetime this disc shows why Gershwin truly was one of the greatest composers of all time. Buy it & enjoy music that is timeless.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
Nice album, the disc itself was fascinating, it looked just like an old time LP! I was worried it wouldn't play but it did just fine. Great music and great orchestrations of some of my favorites. I do like hearing the original compositions, you get to know what the composer really intended with the music, not our 21st century notions.