Well I say so.
Why? Because ever since I was young he was my favourite composer. His songs had magical harmonies. His brother Ira wrote most of his song lyrics of course which were also superb. Years and years later I found out we shared the same birthday – which is this week on the 26th September.
Of course George, like other great American songwriters notably Irvin Berlin were Eastern European immigrants. Imagine the impact that making that journey and then being immersed in American city life must have made. I think you can hear it all the way through George’s music.
The song for today!
Combining George of course and another musical phenomenon Stephan Grappelli. 10 years younger than George – and living to a grand old 99 years of age, I remember seeing Stephan when he was so old he had to sit down and play the violin. This was at the Sheffield Concert Hall around 1990. (He must have been in his 90’s!!!) He was also a fine jazz pianist.
Here it is – “Someone to Watch Over You” followed by the epic “I Got Rhythm”.
I love “I Got Rhythm” and how easily you can transform into “The Muppet Theme”! It is the one signature tune I play at every jazz gig, and the most memorable performance was at my mate Robert’s funeral – a great jazz drummer – and he would definitely have approved at our loud rendition in the church at his funeral.
God bless you Robert, and all the other jazzers who have made my life and are no longer around.