|Music Genres:||Jazz, Pop|
|Level:||1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5|
|Transcription:||Note-for-Note, incl. chord symbols|
Live Version, some lyrics for the orientation are indicated
|Music by||George Gershwin|
|Instruments on the Recording||Vocal, Piano|
|Instrumentation Details||Some lyrics for the orientation are indicated|
|Transcription||Note-for-Note, incl. chord symbols|
From the time of its composition in 1935 until today, Summertime has been the most frequently covered jazz and pop standard. Why? It lives through the contrast between the carefree text (a lullaby describing the light, easy world of summer) and the more melancholic, dreamy melody – mostly in B minor. This song originally stems from the musical Porgy and Bess, in which it is sung four times, each time shortly before the death of a character. It is interesting to note the simplicity of the melody, which is pentatonic for long stretches – very suitable for a lullaby. In many ways the song expresses a longing for a better, safer world. Up to 2012, there have been 32 385 cover versions of this song documented. The first to be greeted with success in the hit parade was from Billie Holliday in 1936. Nearly all of the jazz greats have covered Summertime: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sidney Bechet, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, etc. Also the Beatles, Same Cooke, Billy Stewart (scat version!), Booker T., Janis Joplin, Tori Amos and Gene Harris have put their spin on it. Conclusion: Summertime is the most covered song of all times.
A short word about the composer: George Gershwin (1898 – 1937) lived between the worlds of the popular song, the symphony orchestra and jazz combos / big bands. He worked as a pianist for a publisher, where his job was to make songs from band leaders and theater agents more palatable. Through this connection he first began to compose for Broadway. At first a partner of his orchestrated his works for him, but later do his own orchestration and write directly for orchestra. Especially in Porgy and Bess, he dealt intensively with the African-American musical world. He even had specified in his contract that this work should be exclusively performed by black singers.
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