Three brief items of note:
1) On Friday, May 1, 2015 I’ll be giving a talk at UC Berkeley as part of their Music Studies Colloquium. The title of the talk is: “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed: Rhapsody in Blue.” Morrison Hall, 4:30 pm.
2) In an interview with Music Tomes about his recently released The Country Music Reader, my all-around respected colleague, Dr. Travis Stimeling had a few nice things to say about Arranging Gershwin:
Ryan Banagale’s Arranging Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue and the Creation of an American Icon is a remarkable work of reception history that presents a treasure trove of new archival evidence to demonstrate how musicians have constantly arranged and rearranged Rhapsody in Blue to suit their specific musical, economic, and social purposes.
3) In the May 2015 issue of Jersey Jazz, Jazz historian, Donald Clarke, provided a nice write-up of the book–including reference to a performance of an Ellington arrangement of the piece that I prepared several years ago:
Bañagale’s book tells the whole story of everything the piece has been through, from the first Whiteman recording to United Airline’s use of it in their commercials, including Larry Adler playing it on the harmonica and Woody Allen and even Disney using it in movies. There are musical illustrations and analyses of arrangements, but even if you don’t know much about the nuts and bolts of music (like me) the book is fascinating. Duke Ellington played two arrangements of “Rhapsody In Blue” — the second, in 1967, was probably by Strayhorn; the first, in 1932, was never recorded, but the arrangement still exists and was performed in 2009 by the Harvard Dudley House Big Band, with Bañagale on piano.