Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins

by: Michael Feinstein

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins is Michael Feinstein's second all-Gershwin album. His first, Pure Gershwin, was his best record, probably because, as a former secretary to Ira Gershwin, he knew his way around the material. This time, Feinstein puts his extensive knowledge of the Gershwin catalogue to good use, unearthing lost songs -- "Anything for You" and "Will You Remember Me?" are given their first-ever recordings -- resurrecting original arrangements, and singing rarely used lyrics to favorites like "Someone to Watch over Me." The album's tour de force is the seven-and-a-half-minute "Fascinating Rhythm (Medley)," which travels through time to trace the development of the song and its subsequent versions in successive musical styles. The effect is to demonstrate both the timelessness and the endless versatility of George Gershwin's music. All of this is far more elaborate than the piano accompaniment on Pure Gershwin, and Feinstein has developed enough as a singer to keep up. The man has the heart of a research assistant, but few history lessons are this much fun. ~ William Ruhlmann

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