• Evolution Of A Song: 'I Got Rhythm'

    February 9, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Judy Garland (right) sang "I Got Rhythm" in the 1943 movie version of the 1930s musical Girl Crazy. (Image Credit: Courtesy of MGM)

    When George Gershwin wrote "I Got Rhythm" for the 1930s musical Girl Crazy, he created one of the most catchy melodies in American history. But little did he know that his lovable song — apart from becoming a hugely popular jazz standard — would evolve into something far greater.

    The song itself, on the most basic level, became the perfect vehicle for jazz improvisers. Swing and bebop musicians thrived on its formula: a memorable 32-bar AABA structure and irresistible chord progression. This structure served as a model for many other successful jazz tunes, some say hundreds, like Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail," Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" and Nat King Cole's "Straighten Up and Fly Right." Remarkably, the "I Got Rhythm" form rivals only the blues structure as the most adapted, mimicked or ripped-off, depending how you look at it.

    George Gershwin's later symphonic work, "Variations on I Got Rhythm," was dedicated to the song's original lyricist, his brother Ira Gershwin. But even his brother couldn't have imagined the endless variations on this winning composition. Who could ask for anything more?

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  • WBGO Celebrates Black History Month with Every Voice & Sing!

    February 9, 2011. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Michele Norris (2007 NPR by Stephen Voss)

    In celebration of Black History Month, WBGO will air Every Voice and Sing!, narrated by award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s All Things Considered, Michele Norris.  A collaborative production of EVT Educational Productions, Inc. and WBGO, this five part documentary explores the social and political context of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras which brought about the formation of historically black colleges and universities, and their singing groups. Read more

  • Morning Cup of Jazz 2/9/11

    February 9, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Today at WBGO:

    - Josh Jackson interviewed Wayne Shorter for this week's edition of The Checkout. The interview aired yesterday; listen to it here. Seriously, take the time to listen -- this is a really deep interview.

    - Contribute to our Winter Fund Drive -- today, you can be entered to win the Kitano Hotel's Love Supreme Contest: a Valentine's Day weekend for two, and a drink on the menu named in your honor!

    - Tonight at 6:30, JazzSet features Mulgrew Miller's excellent performance from the Detroit Jazz Festival.

    Click through to learn more about today's jazz happenings: Read more