The Gershwin vault is a musical Holy Grail, a metaphorical repository of more than 100 unfinished songs and fragments of songs written by legendary composer [lastfm]George Gershwin[/lastfm] and his brother Ira. Last year, the Gershwin estate handed [lastfm]Beach Boy[/lastfm] [lastfm]Brian Wilson[/lastfm] the keys.
“Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” includes familiar songs, gently reinvented, and two previously incomplete tracks, now finished by Wilson and a collaborator. It avoids the excessive fealty paid by most Gershwin re-interpreters – the swelling background vocals, the saccharine strings. It is affectionate but not literal.
“I’ve Got a Crush on You” sounds like a Platters cover circa 1955. “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “I Got Rhythm” evoke the Beach Boys 10 years later, with the piled-high woo-ooo harmonies and effusive pop melodies that were the band’s calling card.
It’s not all symphonic surf pop: “Rhapsody in Blue,” with its eerie, choral harmonies, both opens and closes the disc, and ” ‘S Wonderful” is reinvented as a sleepy Brazilian jazz number. The two unfinished tracks, “Nothing but Love” and “The Like in I Love You,” the latter originally composed for the 1920s musical “Lady, Be Good,” end up sounding more like elaborately arranged late-’60s pop songs than anything a Depression-era[lastfm]George Gershwin[/lastfm] would have ever conceived. They’re late-middle-aged symphonies to God.
Recommended tracks: “Rhapsody in Blue,” “The Like in I Love You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”
[Source: Washington Post]