CD Review: ‘Simon Tedeschi/Gershwin: Take Two’



Pianist Simon Tedeschi takes his fascination with Gershwin – rhythms and all, to a new level with his  CD release Gershwin: Take Two (ABC Classics ABC 4810629).

Following a little over a year after his first Gershwin disc Gershwin and Me, Tedeschi presents 21 tracks of mostly miniatures by the visionary American composer who began life in Tin Pan Alley and who irrevocably integrated  Afro -American ideas and jazz into his classical style.

It’s an upbeat collection of music, some of it familiar (Nice Work if You Can Get It, Embraceable You, Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off) and others refreshingly new (several Preludes, an Impromptu and melodies which burn luminous with the ‘blues’).

Tedeschi  conveys Gershwin’s style with assuredness.  After all, he is an experienced performer of Gershwin. He is adept at revealing the surprise of the new. New in Gershwin’s time, if not today.  Syncopations and crunchy harmonies are presaged with the slightest of pauses – a momentary suspension of the breath before the revelation; there is a jaunty confidence in Promenade, a hint of ‘honky-tonk’; improvisation and irresistible rhythms.

Joining Tedeschi on this CD are trumpeter James Morrison and vocalist Sarah McKenzie. Morrison and Tedeschi are a charismatic combination with their breezy conversation in Nice Work If You Can Get It, followed by a more introspective dialogue in Prelude (Melody No 17).

Sarah McKenzie joins Tedeschi for a chatty version of Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off and a sultry version of Embraceable You.

The collection closes with what is possibly Tedeschi’s signature Gershwin piece, the Rhapsody in Blue, arranged for solo piano. Without the orchestra, the thicker instrumental textures are indeed pared back, allowing Tedeschi to showcase his exploration of  ” Gershwin the supreme texturalist”.

ARIA Award winning Recording Producer and Engineer Virginia Read has added her touch to the recording made earlier this year in the Eugene Goossens Hall of the ABC Studios in Ultimo, Sydney.

Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©

Read our review of Simon Tedeschi’s first Gershwin CD ‘Gershwin and Me’ :

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