Music » Critic's Choice

The Gershwin Years




Celebrating George Gershwin just a little ahead of schedule--the centenary of his birth is technically in September--this concert features three top-flight local talents. Pianist Kevin Cole, who put the program together, is a specialist in Gershwin's jaunty but lush keyboard style, as he has proved in orchestral performances around the country as well as in the Royal George Theatre's charming cabaret revue Night Owls. On this occasion he'll perform a rarely heard solo piano version of Rhapsody in Blue, based on a recent edit by Alicia Zizzo that restores to the score some 50 measures that were deleted when it was first published in 1924--including bridges whose absence explains the abrupt transitions in standard recordings. Further inspiration for Cole's version comes from Gershwin's own 78-rpm recording of Rhapsody from the 20s, which employs idiosyncratic chordings not in the score. Cole will also accompany two vocalists: soprano Jill Walmsley, a regular on the local musical-theater scene, and Morgan Evans, a tenor crooner who also plays ukulele on tunes like "Little Jazz Bird" and "Fascinating Rhythm" and will duet with Cole on a piano-harmonica interpretation of An American in Paris. The program starts with selections from Gershwin's Tin Pan Alley collaborations with his lyricist brother Ira and builds up to selections from their opera Porgy and Bess and the solo Rhapsody. Thursday, June 25, 8 PM, Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt and Lake Shore Dr.; 312-322-8871. Next Friday, June 26, 8 PM, Chicago Historical Society, Clark and North; 312-642-4600. ALBERT WILLIAMS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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