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Teasing the Korean

Porgy and Bess, So Many Jazz Adaptations

84 posts in this topic

48 minutes ago, JSngry said:

The Anthony Davis opera.

 

Just listened to an excerpt on YouTube. She should have turned the gun on the guy who was singing.

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On 8/2/2021 at 0:12 AM, JSngry said:

I'm with Chuck D on Elvis.

Sorry, Chuck D. was full of shi# about Elvis, who was anything but a racist.

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Posted (edited)

My impetus for starting this thread was to contrast the excitement the film generated when it was in production - many of those albums date from around the time of the film's release - with the film's practical disappearance.  (Yes, there is that grainy, blurry YouTube clip.)  That and the fact that many of us have known these songs - through Miles and Gil, if no one else - yet haven't seen the film.  I realize that the opera itself is resurrected occasionally.

As for Gershwin vs. other GAS songwriters, I have always felt that his reputation was a little inflated because of his "serious" works.  At the same time, I can't imagine the 20th century without Rhapsody in Blue.  It is the sound of New York.  It is my understanding that Ferde Grofe did a lot of the heavy lifting on the "serious" stuff,

I tend to like Rodgers, Kern, Arlen, and Cole Porter more than Gershwin, but actually, I have more of an issue with Ira's lyrics.  I think you will find more dated references in his lyrics than those of Porter or Hart.  Still, one of my favorite rhymes of all time is "Oh give me that free 'n' easy/Waltz that is Vienese-y."

As to George Gershwin's motivations for writing what he did, whatever.

In the US, the GAS is at the center of a lot of people's musical universe, for better or worse.  Ces't la vie.

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I can't imagine the 20th century without Rhapsody in Blue.

My sincerest hope for humanity is that there is some place in the future where such a thing will not only be possible, but usual.

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5 minutes ago, JSngry said:

My sincerest hope for humanity is that there is some place in the future where such a thing will not only be possible, but usual.

I have bigger hopes for humanity than how they feel about Rhapsody in Blue.

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

My impetus for starting this thread was to contrast the excitement the film generated when it was in production - many of those albums date from around the time of the film's release - with the film's practical disappearance.  (Yes, there is that grainy, blurry YouTube clip.)  That and the fact that many of us have known these songs - through Miles and Gil, if no one else - yet haven't seen the film.  I realize that the opera itself is resurrected occasionally.

 

IIRC the Miles/Gil record was the best selling of the lot. 

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Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, medjuck said:

IIRC the Miles/Gil record was the best selling of the lot. 

That would be my assumption.  I would also guess that Ella and Louis came in second.

I believe I have six versions:

  • Miles & Gil
  • Ella & Louie
  • Mundell Lowe
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Robert Farnon
  • Robert Russell Bennnet.

The only one that I deliberately sought out was Miles and Gil.  The others I stumbled across for short dough in the 1990s.

The Robert Russell Bennet never gets played, because of the banjo.  TTK's pad is a banjo-free zone. 

I've never seen nor heard the opera, but I've heard several of the songs, of course, by pop and jazz singers. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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40 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I have bigger hopes for humanity than how they feel about Rhapsody in Blue.

Not really...one thing leads to another.

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2 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Not really...one thing leads to another.

I heartily disagree.

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Evolution happens in thought as well as in matter.

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1 minute ago, JSngry said:

Evolution happens in thought as well as in matter.

And that means?

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I mean, if people start to think, OMG, what a hoary, overweight fluff spew THAT was, it means they're maybe just not feeling that anymore.

Now, what they start to feel instead...who knows, really, who knows? But if it's crap, at least it will be different crap. And if it's actually better, hey.

Either way, the though will have evolved, just as the body will have by then evolved into having three eyes, and the brain to handle it well.

But if that can't happen, at least get over Rhapsody In Blue That thing truly defecates all on everything about humanity that I find wonderful and/or beneficial 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Enjoy the Miles/Gil version.
The Ray & Cleo version came into KNTU
and nobody else would touch it,
so I took it home - still have it - 
but need to listen again after a few decades.
Would never be able to sit thru a theatrical version
(or movie either).

Actually, I’m fond of this version.
It definitely unhallows the original.

nzNiWGt.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by rostasi

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10 hours ago, rostasi said:

Would never be able to sit thru a theatrical version
(or movie either).

I think I'm with you here, but I would be tempted to suffer through a nice print of the film, as a cultural exercise if nothing else.

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WTF? is this all about?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Bess_(film)#Unavailability_of_prints

Goldwyn's lease of the rights was for only 15 years. After they expired, the film could not be shown without the permission of the Gershwin and Heyward estates, and even then only after substantial compensation was paid. Despite repeated requests, the Gershwin estate repeatedly refused to grant permission for the film to be seen.[38]

Prints of the film are "beyond rare" and the film has been called "the holy grail of missing movies." Though bootleg copies are available, it is not known if a complete, quality print exists. Michael Strunsky, the trustee and executor of the Ira Gershwin Musical Estate, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 that Ira Gershwin and his wife, Leonore, viewed the film as a "piece of shit" and directed Goldwyn to destroy all remaining films 20 years after release, as was their right. However, Michael Feinstein, who was Ira Gershwin's assistant, denies that this ever happened.[2]

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"Piece of ----"... "as was their right" says it all, no? Provided one doesn't trust Feinstein.

I saw the film when it came out, and if memory serves it sure as heck was no bargain. Don't know what color process was used, but IIRC it looked cheap and ugly.

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https://www.therestisnoise.com/2011/08/the-gershwin-estates-porgy-and-bess.html

Worth noting is a comment from Joshua Cohen: "Why are we even talking about this? That is, why can't anybody do anything with Porgy and Bess that they please? Why does current American law keep a work more than 75 years old, whose last creator died more than 25 years ago, under copyright?" This is indeed the underlying issue. If Porgy and Bess were in the public domain, we'd have revisionist productions all over the place, and dunderheaded schemes for it would quickly come and go. But the Gershwin estate exercises a powerful hold over all uses of the composer's work. And, as this Copyright Primer helpfully explains (see Scenario 9), the joint action of the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 means that Porgy will pass into the public domain only in 2030. Yes, 2030 — Gershwin will have been dead for 93 years. People often blame the Walt Disney Company for these ludicrous extensions of copyright terms, but the Gershwin estate has also played an active role; in both cases, the expiration of the Rhapsody in Blue copyright was looming, first in 1980 and then in 2000. The families' cash cow has remained sacred.

 

 

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Rhapsody is in the public domain. 

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Thank god. Now it can reach its full potential of meaningless.

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30 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Thank god. Now it can reach its full potential of meaningless.

You’re making me blue. 

2 hours ago, JSngry said:

WTF? is this all about?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Bess_(film)#Unavailability_of_prints

Goldwyn's lease of the rights was for only 15 years. After they expired, the film could not be shown without the permission of the Gershwin and Heyward estates, and even then only after substantial compensation was paid. Despite repeated requests, the Gershwin estate repeatedly refused to grant permission for the film to be seen.[38]

Prints of the film are "beyond rare" and the film has been called "the holy grail of missing movies." Though bootleg copies are available, it is not known if a complete, quality print exists. Michael Strunsky, the trustee and executor of the Ira Gershwin Musical Estate, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 that Ira Gershwin and his wife, Leonore, viewed the film as a "piece of shit" and directed Goldwyn to destroy all remaining films 20 years after release, as was their right. However, Michael Feinstein, who was Ira Gershwin's assistant, denies that this ever happened.[2]

What is your question. They apparently have veto rights over the use of the songs and don’t want to give permission. 

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Apparently. So...the Gershwins like to control the way their Negroes are portrayed?

How noble of them.

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To be honest, Porgy and Bess is more DuBose Heywood than Gershwins--he wrote a novel, he and his wife turned that into a play and then worked with George to transform it into a musical.

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15 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Apparently. So...the Gershwins like to control the way their Negroes are portrayed?

How noble of them.

Since you despise the Gershwins and loathe this particular play/musical/opera, one would think you, of all people, would be ecstatic that first,  Ira Gershwin himself, and then his estate have taken steps to ensure that it is rarely produced and that the film is never seen again.  What more can they do to please you?

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17 minutes ago, duaneiac said:

What more can they do to please you?

Get me a pizza for lunch tomorrow, that would be great! You got their number?

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6 hours ago, JSngry said:

Get me a pizza for lunch tomorrow, that would be great! You got their number?

914-478-1767. That’s the number of the Westchester Hills Cemetery. They’re awaiting your call. 

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