In The Sublime Gershwin the immensely gifted pianist Roger Lent salutes the all-American musical icon by playing to perfection seven of Gershwin’s Preludes, his Four Pieces, including Promenade in C major, Impromptu in Two Keys, Three Quarter Blues, and Two Waltzes in C Major, all written between 1923 and 1937.
The Preludes would have added up to twenty-four had Gershwin lived to complete The Melting Pot, a collection of two dozen short pieces with which he aimed to if not establish at least reinforce his credentials as a “serious” composer.
It took for Nadia Boulanger to tell someone to tell Gershwin not to bother with the rigors of classical composition lest he should lose his jazzy identity. Ravel bluntly said to him that given the American’s handsome annual income, it should be Gershwin the one to teach Ravel and not the other way around. But Gershwin persisted, teaching himself while writing if not for Carnegie Hall, then for Broadway and Hollywood
Listening to the straightforward honesty of these gems, one is 100% convinced that the two French giants were right. But do not for moment think that there is nothing but well-structured, daringly harmonized, contrapuntally complex, quintessentially American, blessedly inspired music in each and every one of the eleven tracks in this CD. Nor let anyone suspect that I am giving short shrift to the ubiquitous Rhapsody in Blue with which Roger Lent felicitously brings the album to a memorable close.
Throughout Lent’s playing is deliberate, elegant, relaxed, clearly articulated, and attentive to details that faster tempi often tend to muddle. This invaluable artist, first an esteemed jazz musician and trumpet player, now an accomplished keyboard artist has in this, his first solo album as a pianist, a hands-down winner.
Classily produced by Lent’s mentor William Daghlian, perfectly engineered by Jonathan Schultz, and accompanied by insightful liner notes by Lent himself, the Espressivo label CD The Sublime Gershwin is available through http://www.jazzheads.com.
Listen here: https://youtu.be/Sr2nZxJiKDQ
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com