I was hanging out with the fabulous Justin Hayford last weekend, and he mentioned his complete indifference to the music of the Gershwins. And he knows what he is talking about- he has released four albums singing music from the era, and recently did a hugely popular benefit concert in Chicago featuring Gershwin songs. Like me, he was raised in a family of music lovers whose tastes were formed in the 1940s and never progressed past the Beatles. He’s also one of the smartest people I know, so I was inclined to think he was on to something.
But tonight we had our first rehearsal for our all Gershwin pops concert this weekend, and what I realized is that I have no critical distance when it comes to this stuff. The rhythms and yummy harmonies are part of my childhood, they’re in my blood, and I can’t judge Porgy and Bess or An American in Paris with any of my educated brain. I just absolutely love them.
So – come hear us this Saturday night. We’re playing Rhapsody in Blue with THE MAYOR at the piano, for crying out loud! He rehearsed with us tonight and sounds better than any sitting public official I’ve ever heard. We have singers coming in to do Porgy and Bess, and I promise you’ll cry and I haven’t even heard them yet. And American in Paris makes me wish desperately that I played the trumpet.
I love my life.