For the Record, Op. 54: Nigel Kennedy Meets Gershwin

May 9, 2018, 11:01 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Nigel Kennedy Meets Gershwin

Nigel Kennedy Meets Gershwin
Nigel Kennedy, violin

Nigel Kennedy has always loved jazz, having grown up listening to his stepfather’s jazz records, picking out Fats Waller tunes on the piano. In fact, the legendary jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli invited Kennedy to appear with him at New York’s Carnegie Hall when Kennedy was just 16. Yet his recordings have largely excluded jazz, focusing on the classical and rock genres. For this album, Kennedy has reimagined Gershwin standards such as Summertime, Rhapsody In (Claret &) Blue, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and Porgy and Bess. Kennedy even plays the piano for the first time on record. "For me, Gershwin’s work is epitomized by three main ingredients: the fusion of jazz and classical music, the beautiful melodic influences of Jewish culture and the unique energy of New York City," Kennedy said. "When I was around 14, I recall playing Lady Be Good with Grappelli at Ronnie Scott’s. The songs of George and Ira Gershwin have so much pathos, charm, flavor and craft that it has been a joy to record those masterpieces. In his orchestral works such as Rhapsody in Blue, operas such as Porgy and Bess, songs and Broadway musicals, George Gershwin combined classical, jazz and popular music like no other composer." BELOW: Kennedy describes his inspiration for this album, and at 3:45 plays a dang nice How Long Has This Been Going On.

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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May 11, 2018 at 05:05 PM · Grappelli would have never approved of the built up rosin on Mr. Kennedy's violin.

May 12, 2018 at 12:58 AM · It's pretty outta hand, isn't it! :)

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