Conjuring Bing

If you have been reading the other featurettes about the tunes we’ve included on “Retrophonic Gershwin,” you’ll know that many of the piano-vocal arrangements are note-for-note transcriptions from 1920s-’30s recordings, but I took a different tack with “A Foggy Day.”  I’d read that, in 1931, Bing Crosby recorded a demo out in Hollywood of the Gershwins’ score for the movie Delicious — including “Blah, Blah, Blah,” which I would dearly love to hear.  Alas, as I understand it, that recording has been lost.  However, it got Mark and I thinking about how a late 1930s Bing might have sung “A Foggy Day” and we decided to have a go at bringing our imagined version to life.

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Which Pianist Is Playing What?

Well, that’s the twenty-thousand-dollar question when you are transcribing duo-piano parts note-for-note from 1920s recordings, made before stereo recording was invented.  It’s like solving a sonic Rubik’s Cube. 

When we set out to put together a fireworks-filled overture for our Gershwin show — I think it was in 2011, and the show was then titled Syncopated City (which was the original title of “Fascinating Rhythm;” yes we know, too obscure!) — I collected all kinds of marvelous recordings of duo-pianists playing Gershwin.  Listening to Ohman & Arden, Fray & Braggiotti, Fairchild & Rainger was the fun part.  

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