a concept not unlike Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable “
duet with her father, our goal was to “jam” with George.
This was made possible by Gershwin scholar Artis Wodehouse’s
remarkable conversion of some of Gershwin's original paper piano roll
to computer files. It was common for pianists of Gershwin’s
day who made piano rolls to play along or “overdub”
themselves and even correct any mistakes. Gershwin was no stranger
to these techniques, and frankly, neither are we. Using our computer
for the same purpose, once we had Gershwin “tickling”
the hard drive, we were able to superimpose ourselves in and around
his performance, playing introductions, taking solos, fashioning
endings and mostly keeping out of his way.
of this resulted in three separate piano tracks now on computer
files which in turn were played back, recorded separately and ultimately
combined into a single performance. This unique project was made
possible by the use of a Yamaha Disklavier Concert Grand. This modern
player piano utilizes floppy disks instead of paper piano rolls,
has the ability to reproduce the nuances and sensitivity of the
players touch. Our addition of a rhythm section (bass and drums)
seemed to be a natural for Gershwin's strong rhythmic playing.
cannot help but wonder how Gershwin would have reacted to all this
technical razzmatazz. His well established interest in the avant-garde,
modern music and art gives us our best clue....we think he would
have loved it!
Landsberg & Robert Blue Yount