Cover of Porgy and Bess
Wikipedia lists 101 cover versions of Summertime including versions by Eva Cassady, Bing Crosby, Sublime (I own that one), Scarlett Johansson, Paul McCartney, and the Zombies.
I continue to play around with next.lala.com. I've done obvious things like subscribe at 10 cents a track to the nineties recording of Philip Glass' Music in Twelve Parts. But the biggest aesthetic surprise has been stumbling over two different but interesting renditions of Gershwin's Summertime.
The first was by African musician Manu Dibango who establishes a nice groove and has a mellow take on the melody along with some tasteful brass parts.
The other one, in a way more surprising, is by actress Scarlett Johansson. This is from an album Unexpected Dreams - Songs from the Stars. While her album of Tom Waits cover songs is interesting, I haven't had the courage to listen to the songs on this album by Jeremy Irons ("To Make You Feel My Love") or Julia Louis-Dreyfuss ("The Nightshift").
I have a Yahoo tool that reads my blog and generates an RSS feed of possibly related YouTube videos. Generally, it's not that interesting. However, my last post happened to mention Toru Takemitsu which allowed the tool in turn to point to a video of the composer's sensitive guitar arrangement of George Gershwin's Summertime:
I must express my deep and sincere gratitude to John Cage. The reason for this is that in my own life, in my own development, for a long period I struggled to avoid being "Japanese", to avoid "Japanese" qualities. It was largely through my contact with John Cage that I came to recognize the value of my own tradition.
I just heard an excellent interpretation of Gershwin's Summertime played by jazz guitarists Jim Hall and Pat Metheny. Hall plays his usual electric guitar and reminds me of those old neon signs -- pure, colorful, and vibrant. Metheny accompanies on acoustic guitar. Joe Finn on the recording:
Hall does an impeccable single line solo, then Metheny does a chord interpretation while maintaining the rhythm and pedal notes.