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Gershwin's World

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Oct. 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00000DBYQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,371 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Overture (Fascinating Rhythm)0:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. It Ain't Necessarily So 4:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Man I Love 5:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Here Come De Honey Man 3:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. St. Louis Blues [feat. Stevie Wonder] 5:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Lullaby11:03Album Only
Listen  7. Blueberry Rhyme 3:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. It Ain't Necessarly So (Interlude) 1:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Cotton Tail 4:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Summertime 4:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. My Man's Gone Now 1:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Prelude In C# Minor 4:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In G, Second Movement 9:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Embraceable You 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

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Perhaps the most ambitious of album tributes to George Gershwin on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Gershwin's World earns its title by encompassing not only jazz versions of key pop songs from his catalogue and a version (with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) of his Prelude in C-Sharp Minor but also reminding us of the composer's sources in everything from Ellington, W.C. Handy, and stride pianist James P. Johnson to Ravel. Those four are represented by versions of key pieces that affected Gershwin, in a bid to place his achievement in a context that is often discussed but perhaps too little listened to. This is an album that could have been a massive, pretentious failure; instead, with the likes of Wayne Shorter and a nearly unrecognisably torchy Joni Mitchell on hand, it's as close to a triumph as this type of thing reaches. --Rickey Wright

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Matt Ward on 26 July 2005
Format: Audio CD
As I write this review I am surprised that no-one else on Amazon has written one yet. So here I go: This is a tremendous CD described by Herbie himself as 'the most challenging project I have ever done', summoning musicians from all areas of the musical spectrum to create an emotional, daring and powerful masterpiece that celebrates the music and life of one of the worlds greatest ever composers - George Gershwin.
The Album begins with a 'tune' called overture (fascinating rhythm) where the actual melody does not appear only 2 chords and primarily African drummers pumping out some truly fascinating rhythms. The next track 'it ain't necessarily so' swings with lyricism and cool-ness which features some extremely smooth tenor sax playing from James Carter and Alto Sax from Kenny Garrett.
The next track a ballad - 'the man I love' features the barely-recognizable but unique and elegant vocals from the great Joni Mitchell and accompanied in true style by Wayne Shorter on tenor sax.
By far the best track on this CD, is a unique version of 'St.Louis Blues'.
The mouth-watering combination of Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder make this an absolute gem, the rhythm is robust and after all the years Stevie still sounds fantastic his voice full of power and emotion. If you buy this album for one track alone then get it for this one.
The next great track is the great Gershwin anthem 'Summertime' which is played beautifully by 4 true living legends of music - (Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell), this track is indescribable, just listen to it and be wowed.
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By Charles Dalglish on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Worth it for Hancock's interpretation of the slow movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto alone. Plus some fantastic collaborations, including with Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By doublegone TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Mar. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jazz piano master Herbie Hancock set out to mark the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth with this excellent collection. The music comprises Gershwin's own works together with pieces that would have inspired him, from classical composer Ravel to stride piano legend James P Johnson.

Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, James Carter and Kenny Garret all make contributions. But it is the prescence of Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell that really make this a special occasion.

Stevie's distinctive chromatic harmonica in particular is all over some of the best tracks. And Joni Mitchell comes over all chanteuse!

For me the highlights are Ravel's Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In G, Mitchell and Wonder's take on Summertime, and the funky version of WC Handy's St Louis Blues.

Well worth checking out.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Italoc on 27 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Gershwin's World is a very good tribute and it sounds a whole lot better on SACD.
Wonder why Mr. Hancock and Joni Mitchell (who sounds faboulous here) do not reissue some of their work on high resolution formats.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 52 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
a beautiful rendition..... 11 Oct. 1999
By Russell Jennison ( - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Just when you thought you'd heard all of gershwin.. a jazz master such as herbie hancock brings together this talented bunch and gives us a whole new definition of his work. A new approach to gershwin which leaves me gasping. The album flows beautifully from end to end and can be considered a summation of the "feel" of gershwin from the point of view of the arranger herbie hancock. Herbie has always been one of my favorite jazz aritsts, and this album is no exception to his excellent musicmanship. If you've liked herbie's albums before, I'd put this one right up there with 1+1, headhunters, and all his other defining albums.. Herbie has definately created a winner here.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Majestic, a musical experience for body and soul 8 Dec. 1998
By - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I saw Herbie Hancock live for the first time in London in the early 80's, accompanying Winton Marsalis. He blew me away, for the range of his technique and conceptual genius.On this album, he soars on gilded wings, portraying his vision of Gershwin, aided by the stellar cast he has surrounded himself with.The sound of Wayne Shorter's Tenor horn brings back memories of that all -time great band of Miles in the 60's.The amazing vision that Herbie has, which he gathered under Miles, is shown at its fullest here, in the mental and aural concepts he explores.He takes Gershwin's compositions to their limits, expanding them with a subtle intensity which breaks into white flame on tracks like " Summertime", a piece now so common that one would think it impossible to reignite it with new life. But reignite it he does, with Joni's smoky,etheral/erotic vocals and that piano. The incorporation of African percussionists is a master stroke, and underpins the themes with a breathy freshness. It is marvellous to hear Stevie Wonder exploring those cadences which show here where Rap and Hip hop came from. There are no duds here-this is a coming together of all that is finest in American and world music, united in the vision of genius-Gershiwn and Herbie Hancock. If your are not a jazz fan, if you listen to one "jazz" album a year, but if you listen to musci of any sort, listen to this. Majestic,marvellous, this is a master work for all.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Ambitious and Satisfying, But Not Completely Effective 5 July 2000
By M. Allen Greenbaum - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This would have earned 5* were it not for the annoying title and a few cuts that just don't work. While many of the 14 selections evoke Gershwin, not all of them "reach inside the core of the piece in search of the composer's original impulses," as stated (pretentiously, I think) on the CD cover. The most effective pieces stay fairly close to Gershwin, (including "The Man I Love" and "Summertime" with inspired, bluesy vocals by Joni Mitchell and effective comping by Wayne Shorter on sax), although there is outstanding African instrumentation (djembe, talking drum, and three percussionists) on the "Overture" (a spin on "Fascinating Rhythm) and on "It Ain't Necessarily So." The latter features multi-layered African drums, an immense bottom, and a beautifully muted trumpet by Eddie Henderson. Another highlight is the unaccompanied "Embraceable You," taken here at a languid pace that recalls Andy Bey's rich vocal version.
Stevie Wonder's scat/harmonica on "St. Louis Blues" (by W.C. Handy) is a major disappointment. Was it included here for it's single potential? It doesn't fit, either as a Gershwin-esque reconstruction or as a W.C. Handy interpretation. "St. Louis Blues" and Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail" seem like marketing ploys, even if Cotton Tail is based on the "I Got Rhythm's" chord structure (a debt that is hardly unique in jazz).
"Lullaby" is a Gershwin song I've never heard (or just don't recognize), but the band pulls it off with majesty and soul. Operatic at times, floating and mystical at others, layered with blue notes, it is a beautifully orchestrated number (Did "There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem" copy some of the melody?). This piece, along with Gershwin's "Prelude in C# Minor and Ravel's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G, 2nd Movement" represent Gershwin's "classical" side. The `Prelude' features Kathleen Battle's soprano, but sounds thinner than the Ravel piece, which is given chamber orchestra treatment and beautiful long flowing lines by Hancock. (Why Ravel? He and Gershwin shared great admiration for each other: Gershwin met and played for Ravel; Ravel's Piano Concerto in G contains hints of jazz.) The connection seems more solid than than the fatuous one drawn between Gershwin and Ellington ("the two men were kindred spirits in their search to expand the scope and language of American music"). Fortunately, one does not buy music for the liner notes.
The concept, though not wholly realized, is ultimately subordinate to its parts. Most of the numbers succeed, either on their own terms or as extensions of a Gershwin sensibility. Recommended.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The best "Embraceable" you could have... 7 Jun. 2003
By Dihelson Mendonca - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a Masterpiece!
You can also get, the DVD.
It's shocking Herbie's interpretation of "Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In G, 2nd Movement", it's so funny, that even underwater we could recognize it's Herbie Hancock playing. I'm thinking about those people who wrote a bad review of Chick Corea playing Mozart what they would write here about it. :)
I feel fine whenever a Jazz Musician plays classical music, because they're free, and music sound as fresh as when the composer did it.I always think: It's better to listen to Classical music played by Jazz Musicians than to listen Jazz or popular music played by Classical Musicians. The second option always tends to be a disaster!!
Congratulations Herbie Hancock for this NICE work.
George Gershwin (one of the first Jazz Musicians ) would have loved it!
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Just doesn't cohere and therefore doesn't compel 25 July 2000
By Frank Cohen - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Until a week ago, I have never listened to the album but knew of the critical and popular acclaim it has received. I picked it up from the library and have attentively listened to it four times. While the individual performances are enjoyable listens, the album on the whole didn't satisfy me or absorb my attention as I thought a Hancock tribute to Gershwin might.

After having heard about it for years and having seen it receive numerous awards, I was disappointed in the quality of the album and enormously surprised by all the critical and popular accolades.

This is a poorly conceived Gershwin tribute in that it sounds like parts of at least three concepts (e.g., chamber-jazz-style approach, postbop approach, rhythm and blues approach to the Gershwin-penned or Gershwin-ish tunes)that could have been executed in the form of three thoughtful tributes. Don't get me wrong. Each individual tune seems to be thoughtfully arranged, creatively interpreted, and well executed. However, the tunes simply don't cohere in an album format. There is a little chamber-like jazz mixed with a little bop mixed with a little rhythm and blues. The stylistic shifts are jarring and divert from the quality of each individual tune. In other words, the parts are greater than the whole and the whole detracts from the parts.

I think Hancock was trying to appeal to too many tastes (his own tastes or those of the listening audience . . . who knows?) and ended up with a stylistic potpourri that jars the listener rather than drawing him or her in. Therefore, the album comes across as a novelty rather than a truly compelling listen.

Let me give deserving recognition to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder who take on their challenging tasks gracefully. Of course, Hancock's playing is not a problem in the album.

Listen, 5 stars for this album? Do you mean to say that it is the equal of the greatest Hancock recordings: His 60s bop-oriented works with Blue Note or his 70s fusion works with Warner Brothers and Columbia?

I am telling fans of Herbie Hancock that you will be disappointed with this album because of its jarring unevenness and lack of coherence. The lack of coherence is contributed to by the problem that Hancock's keyboard work and ensemble leadership (in terms of performance) are not featured as prominently throughout the album as they are in his classic works.
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