LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Gershwin
WORKS: Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Strike Up The Band Overture; 3 Preludes (orch. Bargy)
PERFORMER: Lincoln Mayorga (piano); Harmonie Ensemble/New York/Steven Richman
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907658
In 2010, Steven Richman’s enterprising Harmonie Ensemble/ New York combined with pianist Lincoln Mayorga for a crisp, stylish and thoroughly enjoyable Harmonia Mundi recording of Gershwin’s evergreen Rhapsody in Blue, in Ferde Grofé’s original scoring for Paul Whiteman’s band. Now they’re reunited in an equally successful account of the Rhapsody’s full-scale successor, the Concerto in F, scored by Gershwin himself. The tempos are brisk, though not at the cost of blues feeling in the slow movement; the solo playing is nimble and neatly phrased, the small band rhythmically tight and full of character, the recording immediate.
The programme also includes the orchestral An American in Paris (played, like the Concerto, in an edition based on Gershwin’s manuscript): the tempos are again brisk, trumpet and saxophones impart the necessary jazz feeling, and the overall effect is joyous. The snappy Overture to Strike Up the Band, in a version made for a 1934 broadcast, and an inventive orchestration of the Three Preludes for piano made by Roy Bargy, Whiteman’s pianist and arranger throughout the 1930s, complete this hugely enjoyable evocation of the ‘jazz age’ and one of its greatest figures.