We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Although Gershwin's name is well known for this piece and others, it's not as well know what a terrifically talented pianist he was. Both he and Ira were the epitome of scrambling, hard-working guys trying to claw their way up in the world by determination and talent. There are a couple of old CDs out there that feature Gershwin on restored piano rolls, cut back when he was a song-plugger. There are additional notes added on the rolls, unless Gershwin had more than 10 fingers, but even so they are real genius and a lot of fun to listen to. One of the pieces is all Gershwin. What a shame he died just as he was hitting his creative excellence.
Thanks for sharing this recording, I can always tell a Whiteman arrangement from that distinctive sound and his band's embellishments. I'd love to hear this arrangement played live some time, or maybe hear this old '78 re-mastered.
In the 20’s, piano roll devices were being fitted to very high end pianos, like Steinways and the famous German brand. The most highly developed roll recorded all the keystrokes and pedal movements, including duration and force. They were pneumatic systems driven by air pressurized air.
The depth of information recorded would not be equalled until well into the digital age some 50 years later. Even CD’s do not capture what piano rolls did. And, of course, the rolls were driving high end musical instruments. All the famous pianists of the day made recordings, like Rachmaninov.
For a time in the 60’s and 70’s you could get the actual pianos and the rolls in garage sales for only a few hundred dollars. A friend had a cottage industry of buying old pianos and restoring the wood finish and rebuilding the mechanisms. You could still get original specification pneumatic tubes, parts and key ovory then. The results were striking beautiful instruments producing gorgeous sounds. He ended keeping a grand piano and an upright. He had six pianos, but his wife wanted her house back.
By the 80’s collectors and sellers had caught on, and pianos that once sold for least than $1,000 commanded $10,000 to $20,000 or even more prior to restoration. My friends business then became restoration for other peoples’ pianos.
He restored so many instruments to such a high level, that he is guaranteed a seat in Heaven.
I have a Pianomation system installed in my circa 1925 Mason&Hamlin Model B grand piano and a Roland floppy disk player that plays a floppy disc with Gershwin playing Rhapsody in Blue on it, taken from those piano rolls. To hear it played on that piano just makes me cry with happiness.