A son of Jewish Russian immigrants playing around with African American music, composing for an audience of white Americans. Does it get any more American than that?
If there is any song that represents the best in America, it would be Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, at least today. If nothing else for the clarinet glissando at the beginning. Which was a bit of joking around by the band that Gershwin had the good sense to keep in. In fact the piece as we know it is a collaboration between Gershwin, the composer, Ferde Grofe’ who scored the piece for the band and later larger orchestras and members of the band as with the clarinet intro. Also his brother Ira who changed the name.
As we get ready this week to celebrate everything that is good about our nation what better way to start than with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.